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"Supporting Survivors with Disabilities through the Criminal Justice Process" Roberta Sick, Crime Victims with Disabilities Project Director Partners for.

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Presentation on theme: ""Supporting Survivors with Disabilities through the Criminal Justice Process" Roberta Sick, Crime Victims with Disabilities Project Director Partners for."— Presentation transcript:

1 "Supporting Survivors with Disabilities through the Criminal Justice Process" Roberta Sick, Crime Victims with Disabilities Project Director Partners for Inclusive Communities – UA Arkansas University Center for Excellence on Disabilities

2 Learning Objectives 1. Understand the Importance of Working Together 2. Identify Five Overarching Principles 3. Have Knowledge of Attitudes and the Effects on Justice 4. Utilize strategies that do not REVICTIMIZE 5. Think about Practical Considerations for Providing Supports and Resources

3 Work Together = Collaboration Learned the most from serving victims through co- advocacy with other programs. Learn from our successes and our mistakes These Stories encourage change Victims got the support they needed (sometimes). Intervened sometimes to keep things moving along.

4 Work Together = Collaboration In its simplest form, collaboration means "to work together." According to the Fieldstone Alliance, collaboration is "a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve results they are more likely to achieve together than alone. Fieldstone Alliance

5 Five Overarching Principles 1. Person centered/victim centered 2. Be Respectful 3. Recognize Strengths 4. Build Relationships 5. Knowledge is Power: Dont Forget what you Already Know Share information

6 Definitions Attitudes – are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event. People can also be conflicted or ambivalent. Definition of Attitude from Wikipedia Definition of Attitude from Wikipedia Issue – A point or matter of discussion, debate, or dispute. Definition of Issue from The Free Dictionary Definition of Issue from The Free Dictionary

7 The Issues A Cascade of Injustices Lack of knowledge Oppression and Paternalism Effects of Trauma Definitions of Justice Victim Blaming Fear of Disability Justice for All Communicating with Victims

8 Issue: A Cascade of Injustices Abuse and Neglect happens Not recognizing abuse and neglect as wrong Not being able to disclose Not being understood or believed Reports not investigated No Therapy or inappropriate therapy No Trial No Conviction (Adapted from Hilary and Styron, 1998)

9 Knowledge is Power If Abuse and Neglect happens Recognizing abuse and neglect as wrong Being able to disclose Being understood or believed Reports investigated Appropriate therapy Trial Conviction

10 Issue: Lack of Knowledge Training ? Everybody with a disability who thinks they may become a crime victim meet here at 5:00 for training? Probably Not a Good Idea Crime and Violence Crime/violence is not CONVENIENT nor PLEASURABLE. NOT a choice. NOT the Victims Fault

11 Issue: Lack of Knowledge (2) The criminal justice process is very confusing and difficult. The process is often re-victimizing. The persons trauma may be complex. For the purpose of understanding persons with intellectual disabilities – it might be best to view PTSD as a continuum rather than a discrete condition. (Taken from: Trauma-Informed Behavioral Interventions, Karyn Harvey, 2012)

12 Finding Justice: Be Respectful Victim Advocate Attitude Armor Respect Kindness Always the Truth Bring your whole person Be in the Moment Remember: It is more than our time and money for what we are doing – we are dealing with people and their TRAUMA Remember they may be risking their independence in coming forward. If we are rude, disrespectful, unkind, it hits people harder because of the job that we are tasked to do.

13 Be Respectful: Rosas Law On October 6, 2010, President Barrack Obama signed into law Rosa's Law. Rosa's Law changes references in federal law from mental retardation to intellectual disability and references to a mentally retarded individual to an individual with an intellectual disability.

14 Finding Justice: Knowledge is Power Understand that: There is some information that this person may need There is a lot of Frustration and Anger especially in the beginning The person is unprepared to deal with the criminal justice system. What can we do? Explain that there are different kinds of victim advocates. Identify who you are and your role. Prepare the person as much as possible for what is happening. Recognize the frustrations and invest in building relationship and connection. More preparation - information is power. Dont forget what you already know.

15 Issue: Oppression and Paternalism Paternalism - Paternalism is, in simplistic terms, acting on anothers behalf without his or her explicit consent. typically refers to behavior, by a person, organization or state, which limits some person's liberty or autonomy for their good, or the liberty or autonomy of some group of people for their good. (Wikipedia) Oppression is the "systematic mistreatment of one group of people by another group of people, in which there is an imbalance of institutionalized power." (Adapted from: Issues Of Culture And Oppression In Organizations by Sharon Kaiser May, 1990 San Francisco, California)

16 Finding Justice: Person/Victim Centered Recognize the far reaching effects of paternalism and oppression. Be mindful in your interactions with support people. RECOGNIZE: It is hard for people with disabilities to have a voice if their rights are not considered important. REMEMBER to apply the OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES

17 Issue: Effects of Trauma Trauma is defined by the experience of the person. Traumatic events can cause people to feel very afraid, upset, confused, helpless, angry, empty, or numb. There are different kinds of traumas. People who experience trauma may feel: Devalued Disconnected Unsafe

18 Trauma and Behavior It is possible that many of the responses of individuals with intellectual disabilities that we call behavior issues might actually be manifestations of trauma and trauma based responses. (Taken from: Trauma-Informed Behavioral Interventions, Karyn Harvey, 2012) Behavior is, in itself, a language. Behind behavior is often an emotion. Behind emotion is an accumulation of past traumas and their effects. Remember PTSD as a continuum.

19 Recognizing Strengths Fact that they have made it to this point = they have STRENGTHS. Offer resources to support these. The goal is to integrate what happened and come out on the other side feeling hopeful. The persons STRENGTHS are the tools. Justice system may not be where they get this. Need to prepare people for it.

20 Recognizing Strengths The advocates job is to remind people of these strengths and build upon them. Our strengths come from our life experiences and opportunities. Resiliency comes from coping strategies, self esteem and strong relationships.

21 Become Trauma Informed Trauma-informed organizations, programs, and services are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid re-traumatization. Taken from: Trauma Informed CareTrauma Informed Care

22 Justice - by whos definition What is the Definition of Justice ? Is it defined by the prosecutor or the victim or society? From a law perspective We prosecute in the name of the state. Justice Justice" - defining exactly what that concept means is very difficult Problems develop when one party defines justice in one way and their opponent(s) define it differently.

23 Prosecution Dilemma If the prosecutor cannot make a case under a sexual assault law – do we consider using Adult Protective Services Law regarding exploitation? Get the Bad Person VERSUS At What Cost to the individual – Who decides?

24 Ideas for Prosecutors Ensure that cases involving victims with intellectual disabilities are handled as fast as possible. Make sure that victims with disabilities receive support services as they go through the criminal justice process. Prosecutors can be specially assigned to handle cases involving victims with intellectual disabilities, receiving in-depth training on issues related to victimization of people with intellectual disabilities, attending training, and networking with others in the field.

25 Ideas for Prosecutors (2) Help make sure that victims with intellectual disabilities are adequately and appropriately prepared for the court process and testifying. Work in collaboration with state level resources, local teams, advocacy centers, mental health providers, protective services agencies, and victim assistance providers. Adapted from: Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Recommendations to Improve the Criminal Justice Response to Child Victims and Witnesses

26 Resource: Job Accommodation Network Site is actually about work place BUT there are similarities to what we need to know AND it is consistent in its delivery of information across disabilities Publications and Resources Accommodations Ideas disability

27 EXAMPLE: J OB A CCOMMODATIONS FOR P EOPLE WITH I NTELLECTUAL OR D EVELOPMENTAL D ISABILITIES Cognitive Limitations: Reading Provide pictures, symbols, or diagrams instead of words Read written information or provide written information on audiotape Use voice output on computer Use line guide to identify or hi-light one line of text at a time

28 EXAMPLE: J OB A CCOMMODATIONS FOR P EOPLE WITH I NTELLECTUAL OR D EVELOPMENTAL D ISABILITIES Organization People with cognitive or intellectual impairments may be disorganized due to an inability to retain information and/or an inability to transfer or apply skills in different work environments. Minimize clutter Color-code items or resources Provide 1-2-3 chart Divide large tasks into multiple smaller tasks Label items or resources. Use print labels instead of hand-written labels. Use symbols instead of words

29 Prosecutor Considerations Evidence Disclosure Assistance in Building the Case Charging Decisions Meeting Victim Needs Pretrial Motions and Accommodations Competency and Qualifying Jury Selection Taken from: Crime Victims with Disabilities, What the Prosecutor Needs to Know, 2006

30 Justice System Advocacy The court experience is just one part of the process. Many people count on the justice system for closure. Many victims believe they will feel better after the process. This is not always the case. Regardless of the court results - the person needs to be okay - regardless of what happens there - and sometimes in spite of what happens there.

31 Issue: Victim Blaming Victim blaming occurs when the victim(s) of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment are held entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them Definition of Victim Blaming from Wikipedia Exemplified by questioning: Why did you get in the car? Why did you leave the door unlocked? Why did you let the person in? We talked about this you should know better.

32 Finding Justice: Person/Victim Centered and Be Respectful Hold the offender accountable. Remember that the violence was not caused by the person and they should not be blamed. Be mindful that some people may be blaming the victim.

33 Issue: Fear of Disability Sometimes society is fearful of people with disabilities because of fear of the unknown. Why? Fear comes from a lack of knowledge We fear what we dont understand We dont educate ourselves until we must. You dont have meanness on the other side – you have ignorance

34 Victim Centered and Be Respectful Exposure to people with disabilities can help to increase comfort before the need to serve them as victims arises. Know that the trauma may have many layers. Be proactive not reactive. Tips: Talk to the person directly If support people are present, Notice who responds first – take time to listen Build connection Be honest, encourage others to be honest Reach a level of Empathy

35 Important to Know Individuals with intellectual disabilities or a diagnosis are often defined by their perceived lack of power. They are either completely invisible or seen as in need of protection. People around them have often created a prison of protection. This protectionism sometimes makes them more at risk.

36 Invisible: The Case of Danielle Kelly – A Child Ignored to Death Ed McCann, prosecutor from Philadelphia Pennsylvania who spoke at the NCVC Conference in in Orlando about Danielle – a child who was ignored to death. This story is all about ATTITUDES with a tragic result. HS_new.pdf HS_new.pdf

37 Issue: Communication Frequently the only witness to the crime is the person (the victim). Getting information from the victim is crucial to inform the investigation, and where possible, to build a case for prosecution.

38 Finding Justice: Person/Victim Centered All people communicate. Find out about the persons communication style. If verbal language is not used, become familiar with the method the person uses. Understand the ethics of using an interpreter or facilitator. Some cases may require some assistance. Use precautions Taken from: Victims with Disabilities: The Forensic Interview, OVC, 2007

39 Ideas for Law Enforcement and Forensic Teams Reduce the number of interviews a person undergoes. Minimize the number of people involved in a case. Enhance the quality of evidence discovered for criminal prosecution or civil litigation. Provide information essential to protection service agencies. Minimize the likelihood of conflicts among agencies with different philosophies and mandates (Adapted from: Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Recommendations to Improve the Criminal Justice Response to Child Victims and Witnesses)

40 Issue: Justice for All Recognize the Broader Issues of Justice and People with Disabilities Civil Rights Individual Rights Systems Rights

41 Finding Justice: Empowerment and Self Advocacy Finding a Voice: It is hard for people with disabilities to have a voice if their rights are not considered important. Self Advocacy: Self Advocacy is about independent groups of people with disabilities working together for justice by helping each other take charge of their lives and fight discrimination. (Taken from: Advocating Change Together, St. Paul, MN)

42 Build Relationships and Knowledge Benefits of Self Advocacy (2) People with disabilities across the country are getting engaged in this work, sharing their stories – as they do that, others are coming forward to share – but as they do that, then others hear them and they come forward to share – however there is no infrastructure within the self-advocacy community to support these individuals and each other as they share their violence issues and victim experiences with others. Need to have an infrastructure to support people. 1-27-12

43 Personal Lessons Learned Feeling incompetent is part of the work. Over time the issues just are different. The important lesson for me is to always remember to put things in manageable chunks. Overwhelmed people dont make changes. Baby Steps - Never forget that if we quit – we dont move at all. Give people the ability to learn with Baby steps become bigger over time.

44 Resource: The Disability and Abuse Project Website offers: Weekly newsfeed Listserv – National Resource of Individuals Resources of books, videos, curricula, articles National Project Consultant List Project Director, Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D.

45 Resource: Accessing Safety Initiative Funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, the Accessing Safety Initiative helps organizations and communities meet the needs of women with disabilities & Deaf women who are victims or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, & stalking.Office on Violence Against Women

46 Resource: Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) SABE is the self-advocacy organization of the United States and works for the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in the community. Run by a board of self-advocates representing 9 regions

47 Resource: Leaders with Developmental Disabilities in the Self-Advocacy Movement This project explores the life stories of thirteen leaders in the self-advocacy movement and their perspectives on key issues and leadership challenges. cs_movements/self_advocacy.html

48 Resource: ADA Resources The ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Consists of ten Regional ADA National Network Centers located throughout the United States. 1-800-949-4232 (Voice/TTY)

49 Your Knowledge is Power Just Say Know!: Understanding and Reducing the Risk of Sexual Victimization [Paperback] by Dave HingsburgerDave Hingsburger Counselling People with Developmental Disabilities Who Have Been Sexually Abused [Paperback] by Sheila Mansell (Author), Dick Sobsey (Author)Sheila Mansell Dick Sobsey

50 Need More? When you need more than the Five Overarching Principles National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium Standards (Ethics). National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium Standards (Ethics).

51 Three Steps to Work Together and to Better Serve Victims 1. Take Care of Yourself - Sharpen the Saw 2. Support Each Other-Think Win-Win 3. Build Relationships and Knowledge - Synergize

52 Starfish Story One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing? The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I dont throw them back, theyll die. Son, the man said, dont you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You cant make a difference! After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said I made a difference for that one. Original Story by: Loren Eisley

53 Hope, Hope, Hope For the Victim/Survivor End Result – Integration of the Experience Person has what they need for healing (or at least as much as possible) and are on the Road to their own new wholeness. Healing is possible. People who CARE You are the HOPE! With information and passion you can improve the situation for victims who have disabilities. Work towards it. Support people with disabilities who are involved in the work Support each other.

54 Hope Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained. - Helen Keller

55 A Work of Thanks To all of my colleagues in Arkansas who have helped put this presentation together. To our statewide advisory committee and our local team for the synergy around serving victims better and what we have learned in the process. And THANKS to all of the people nationally who have worked tirelessly on this issue.

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