Crime Victim Research
The passing of public law 105-301, “Crime Victims with Disabilities
Awareness Act”, in 1998 directly led to research on the details of
crime victims with disabilities. That research was to be included in
the Bureau of Justice Statistics in its annual National Crime Victims
Survey. However, the research resulted in its own publication: “Crime
Victims with Developmental Disabilities: Report of a Workshop.” It was
written by the Committee on Law and Justice in the Commission on
Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research
Council. There was no study done, but a group of researchers,
specialists, and advocates came together to analyze existing data and
the extent of the problem.
The results of the workshop by the National Academy of Sciences
emerged in 1999 with the Crime Victims with developmental
Disabilities: Report of a Workshop by the committee on Law and
In the following pages, there will be an analysis of the social
problem (crime victims with disabilities) which led to the policy
enactment. In that section there will be an explanation of how other
research policies were developed and their success in solving and
understanding problems. In a later section, the goals, implementation
and provisions of the legislation will be explained. Finally, there
will be an explanation of how Public Law 105-301 is consistent with
the values of social workers.
History of Crime Victim Research
The history of criminal statistics begins in 1880 (Robinson). There
were statistics prior to that time called “statistics of crime” that
were collected in the 1850, 1860, and 1870s censuses. The Secretary of
the Interior was in charge of carrying out the provisions of gathering
crime statistics. The United States marshals, however, performed the
collection of the statistics. Four questions were included in the
census related to crime. They enquired about the number convicted of
crime during the year ending June 1, 1850, the number imprisoned at
that time, the nativity and the color of their native born. One more
question was added in 1870.
“No great amount of time was spent on the compilation of the
statistics of criminals for these three censuses, and the published
facts were so brief that even the whereabouts of those for 1850 and
1860 seem not to be generally known,” Louis Newton Robinson, an
assistant professor of economics at Swarthmore College wrote.
(Robinson, 1969, p. 17).
In 1880 there was a shift. The census became more in depth, but still
little attention was paid to compilation and analysis of judicial
criminal statistics. For the most part, they pertained to those who
were imprisoned. The purpose of those statistics was to judge the
“nature and extent of the criminality in a given geographical...