People with disabilities 'crime victims'

·2-min read

People with a disability are twice as likely to be a victim of a violent crime in NSW.

They are also over-represented in parts of the justice system, being more likely to face drug and domestic violence offences.

Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) released on Monday shows 17 per cent of people accessing core disability support had been victims of crime.

Between 2014 and 2018, 6.5 per cent of people claiming support experienced a violent incident and 4.4 per cent experienced a domestic violence related crime.

Indigenous women with a disability suffered even worse, with 18 per cent experiencing a violent crime over that same five year period.

People who commit violence against people with a disability were 17 per cent less likely to have criminal matters proceed against them.

Police were less likely to take action if the victim had a cognitive and physical disability.

People in NSW with a disability who experienced domestic violence-related crime were also more likely to experience it again within a year.

Generally, people with a physical, cognitive and mental health disability were more likely to become victims of crime.

BOSCAR director Suzanne Poynton said the data pilot was the first of its kind to offer insight into both the victimisation and offending among people with a disability in NSW.

"Filling this significant knowledge gap is important for developing disability policy in the justice system," Dr Poynton said.

In a separate report, the bureau found rates of some criminal offending were higher for people with disabilities between 2009 to 2018.

People with disabilities were more than twice as likely to face drug offences over that same period.

Increases in domestic violence rates were more pronounced in the population of people with disabilities.

Federal, state and territory governments are working together to create a National Disability Data Asset to collect national data on people with a disability.

The bureau suggests this could be used in future to help identify people in need of support from the Justice Advocacy Service and whether the service was doing enough to help people with a disability.

Children and people over 65 were not included in the report's data and the authors warned they could be even more vulnerable to being victims of crime.

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