Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences in the 21st Century
An Inclusive and Individualized Response for Victims of Crime with Disabilities: The Adult Advocacy Centers ‘Model
Olivia Caldeira and Leigha Shoup
This paper provides an overview to the Adult Advocacy Centers (AACs), the first centers in the world that will be equipped to provide holistic, accessible, and trauma-informed services to adult crime victims with disabilities in a universal and multi-sensory environment. The AACs will work in partnership with state, regional, and community agencies to coordinate a response that promotes the safety and well-being of all individuals. To provide these services, the AACs will facilitate multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) within local communities, implementing a forensic protocol that optimizes the possibility that perpetrators will be prosecuted. The AACs plan to build 10 centers throughout the state of Ohio and create a mobile MDT that will travel to crime victims who are unable to visit a center. An exploration into this unique approach to victim services will assist participants in understanding best practices for survivors. This paper provides a greater understanding of the various needs of crime victims with disabilities and how the AACs’ unique design and collaborative efforts will ensure equal accessibility to necessary investigative, prosecutorial, and treatment services when there are allegations of abuse and neglect. While it is absolutely important for everyone to have a voice, it is also important to teach others how to listen. People with disabilities who have been victims of abuse or neglect deserve to have their needs met in a holistic manner and remain at the center of the investigation and treatment plan.
Keywords: crime victims, disabilities, advocacy, accessibility.