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Victims with Disabilities: Collaborative Multidisciplinary First Response (DVD and Training Guide)

NCJ Number
Nora J. Baladerian Ph.D.
Date Published
March 2009
66 pages
This DVD and training guide is designed to demonstrate effective techniques for first responders called to help crime victims who have disabilities that affect the victim's intellectual and communication abilities.
This training DVD provides a specific set of guidelines for first responders, such as law enforcement officers and paramedics who have been called to the scene of a crime in which the victim has a disability. It is designed to help these professionals hone their ability to work with individuals who present specific challenges to a successful first response. Under the guidance of a national advisory board, this DVD was developed to provide guidelines for interacting with both adults and children, with emphasis on crime victims who have communication and/or intellectual disabilities. The DVD is intended to help law enforcement personnel acquire additional skills, as well as help them acquire a deeper understanding of the lies, personal attributes, and abilities of individuals with developmental and other disabilities. To accomplish this goal, the DVD provides vignettes. Following these vignettes, the basic protocols for effective and productive interactions are described and demonstrated. To show how these are applied in real situations, first responses are conducted on-screen by a variety of law enforcement and medical professionals. Some basic protocols described and demonstrated include: (1) understanding a disability before meeting a victim; (2) addressing a victim directly during the initial contact; (3) transporting a victim according to protocol; and (4) applying first responder techniques to all professional interventions. First responders must have information about how a specific disability may affect an individual and how trauma and stress may bring out or exacerbate certain characteristics. They must ensure that victims with these disabilities have the opportunity to provide input into their own care, express their needs, and participate in the criminal justice process.