CINCINNATI — Developmentally disabled victims who never reported crime are in the middle of new research. Researchers are trying to find ways to make it easier to report to police.

What You Need To Know

  • Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are trying to find participants, disabled victims for a new project

  • They're trying to learn about some of the barriers when someone who is developmentally disabled tries to report a crime 

  • They'll be doing the research online for the next two years and hope their findings will make crime reporting more accessible 

For years, Amanda Simmons has been using her voice to show students with disabilities how to use theirs.

“I’m a speech-language pathologist. so speech and language, which are two different aspects of communication, are a part of what we see every single day,” said Simmons. 

However, there’s a little-known problem that she said is underreported.

“If it's hard to tell someone that you need to go to the restroom, then something complicated, complex and difficult, like the trauma of an assault, has so much higher ramifications,” said Simmons. 

She’s trying to change that. She teamed up with Brittany Hayes, a criminal justice associate professor at the University of Cincinnati.

“I began looking in some of the national data sets. and what was really evident to us at that point in time was that individuals with disabilities were at much greater risk for victimization,” said Hayes. 

Together they’re researching ways for someone with a communication disability to report crimes and recently got a grant to help.

It will pay for past disabled victims to share their stories and fund research on ways they can improve.

“We see some advance to providing accommodations, but a lot of that centers on physical disabilities. So, for example, ramps outside of buildings to provide accessibility, but we don't really think about the light might be too bright, the noises might be too loud, and that is points that we're hoping to identify with this project,” said Hayes. 

It’ll all be happening online once they get enough participants. Then, they’ll be researching for the next two years in an effort to make a change in crime reporting.

“Hopefully in years to come, we will be in a world where communication differences are not deficits or preventing reporting of of assaults,” said Simmons. ,