The problem of hate crimes has always been significant on a national level, and it obviously needs special attention. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the need for radical measures in every sphere of society to eliminate this problem.
Although the number of people with disabilities rises with age, the disability rate in the USA does not vary a lot from one ethnic group to another because disabilities may be caused by genetic reasons and the lifestyle of the person.
Around 56.7 million people who live in the United States had a physical or mental disability in 2010 (Brault, 2012). This is about 18, 7% of the whole population of the USA. From the year 2005, a number of people with special conditions increased by 2.2 million people. The number of people who have disabilities increases with age. People that are 80 and older are more likely to have some kind of a disability than people of the younger age groups. The number of people who need personal assistance also increases with age (Brault, 2012).
In 2010, the general male and female disability rates in the USA were almost the same: 17,3 for men and 17,4 for women. The highest disability rate was recorded among the African Americans: 20,4 among men and 20,3 among women. White male disability rate was 18,6 and white female disability rate was estimated around 18,5. Hispanic or Latino and Asian population disability rates were a little lower (Brault, 2012).
The number of people with special conditions may vary according to the type of disability they have. 6,2% of the US population that is older than 15, has difficulties with seeing, hearing, or pronouncing words. Among the people of the age of 65 and more, the number of those with seeing, hearing or speaking problems is 6,9 million (17,9%). Around 30 million people have difficulties with walking, climbing the stairs or have the need to use a wheelchair. Around 20 million people have problems with the lower part of the body and cannot lift or grasp something. Approximately 5 million Americans need the help of other person in performing at least one activity of daily living. 6,3% (15,2 million) of adult population have some kind of cognitive, mental or emotional disability. About 0,5% of the population have such kind of developmental disability as autism.
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California is the most populated state with 37,884,602 individuals living there. Moreover, the largest number of disabled people live there. Texas, Florida and New York have a large number of people with disabilities, too. Wyoming, as the least populous state in the country with population 544,270 people also has the smallest number of physically and mentally disabled people (Brault, 2012).
In the 20th century, people with disabilities do not hide from the society, try to take part in all aspects of social life, and this process can sometimes be painful. People with disabilities often look different. This may cause misunderstanding or the feeling of superiority in physically and mentally able people.
The first National study on crime victims with disabilities was conducted in October 2009. Its main finding was the fact that people that have some physical or mental disabilities become victims of violence almost twice as often as the able people do. Mentally handicapped grown-ups suffer from violence four times more often than the healthy people do (Petersen, 2012). Women with disabilities become victims of crime more often than people without special conditions do.
Victimization may оccur in a non-violent form, for example, in the form of ignorance by other peoplе or controlling the access to the equipment that the person needs (Browne, Demyan, & Agha, 2014). Bullying is a kind of victimization that is the most common for people with disabilities. Young peoplе suffer from bullying verу often, and in the majority of cases their offenders are physically and mentally able people. Offenders often look at the targets that are weak and unable to protect themselves. The main reason why they bullу people with disabilities is the search of social significance.
People with physical, mental and emotional disabilities can become the victims of different crimes, for example, robbery, sexual assault, car theft or some other property crimes. The risk of victimization of people with disabilities is very high, but often these people have no opportunity to tell someone about what had happened to them (Plummer, & Findley, 2012). They may depend on their relatives or people who take care of them both physically and financially. In some cases, people they depend and rely on, including family or hospital staff, are the offenders. Disabled people may often feel offended and neglected by the people who take care of them but they still do not tell anyone about the act of victimization (Brownridge, 2006).
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Аbout 20% of disabled crime victims think that they were victimized because of their disability. Women that werе victimized do not usually report the incident because their disability does not let them live independently from their offender (Petersen, 2012).
The most important issue in preventing crimes against people with disabilities is to understand that people should not be treated according to the way they look or depending on their physical or mental abilities. To prevent crimes against disabled people some measures should be taken. First, caretakers themselves should respect the rights of people with special conditions. Second, agencies that provide social help need to be more aware of the violence that these people suffer from very frequently. To keep the disabled population from the victimization, the federal law was extended by President Obama to protect people with special conditions (Blake, 2009).