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Transcript of Ruderman Podcast HERE
For this White Paper, we looked at the media coverage of 260 cases of the killing of disabled people by the parents or other caregivers, ultimately narrowing our sample down to 219 cases in which the circumstances were clear. The cases date from January 2011 to December 2015. The cases range from clearly intentional acts of murder to death through neglect; the victims have a wide range of disabilities, and the legal outcomes vary from acquittal or no charge to lengthy prison sentences.
National data repeatedly indicates that people with disabilities are at higher risk for violent crime than people without disabilities. The deaths of people with disabilities at the hands of caregivers, including parents, is a particularly tragic subset of this broader pattern. Moreover, when journalists cover the deaths of this vulnerable segment of the population, the focus is often directed at the murderer. Journalists, consciously or unconsciously, often write stories that build sympathy for the murderer and the circumstances that led them to their crime, while the person with a disability is erased from the story.
We have examined over 200 news reports about cases in North America between 2011-2015 that clearly describe the murder of a victim with a disability by a parent, child, spouse, or unrelated caregiver.