Criminal Justice professor receives grant to research reporting barriers for victims of violence

Associate professor Brittany Hayes was awarded a DOJ grant to study how IDD communities report crime

Brittany Hayes, PhD, an associate professor with the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services, and Information Technology (CECH), and Amanda Simmons, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Allied Health Sciences, have been awarded a two-year research grant from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

This project will be conducted in collaboration with the University of South Florida (co-principal investigator Ráchael Powers, PhD) and The Arc's National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability  (co-investigator Leigh Anne McKingsley), housed within The Arc, a national organization advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Hayes’ project, “Language Access Barriers to Justice Among Victims of Violence Against Women with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” aims to collect data around the experiences victims with IDD face when reporting violent crimes to law enforcement. Through interviews and focus groups, the research team will collect responses from seven distinct groups:

  • Victims with IDD
  • Individuals with IDD who are not victims
  • Disability community
  • Law enforcement
  • Victim service advocates
  • Adult protective services

"Obvious, Clear & Consistent"

headshot of Dr. Hayes

Brittany Hayes, PhD. Photo provided by CECH.

“In the last three years, one of the co-PIs and I began to look at individuals with disabilities in national datasets. It was so obvious, clear and consistent: Individuals with disabilities are at greater risk of victimization,” says Hayes.

“With this in mind, if you look at devices for folks that are non-speaking, they routinely are not designed to report to police. Our goal is to identify what those barriers are in order to design accommodations in the future. If we consider populations most at risk for experiencing violent crime and victimization, there are likely benefits for all victims”

She notes that, in including practitioner perspectives, the research team aims to develop a holistic understanding of IDD community needs in pursuit of functionally designed solutions.

“Our ultimate goal is to be able to develop free and accessible technology to enhance reporting.”

Hayes and the research team are currently soliciting potential participants for the study. To learn more about this research project, reach out to Brittany Hayes via email or phone at 513-556-5827.

Feature photo at top of concerned woman. Photo/iStock 

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