July 30, 2009

Four will go to crime victims with disabilities sessions

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three Southern Illinois University Carbondale professionals earned a community team scholarship to attend the “National Professional Training Conference: Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities.”

The conference runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Denver. Colo. Police Sgt. David Stewart, Officer Scott Miller, and Kathleen Plesko, director of Disability Support Services, will attend for SIUC. Sheila Frampton from The Women’s Center in Carbondale will accompany them as part of the community team.

The conference features breakout sessions addressing specific issues that challenge effective crime victim assistance when the crime victim, or the suspect, has a disability. The sessions will focus on a number of disabilities -- both physical and mental, including deafness, mental illness, autism and developmental disabilities -- and what police officers, crime victim advocates and others need to know to do their jobs better.

“Those with disabilities may be more likely to be crime victims,” Miller said. “Sometimes there can be obstacles to communication. We need to learn how to overcome those obstacles to help crime victims with disabilities. What we are really trying to do, though, is help prevent them from becoming crime victims.”

SIUC maintains a strong commitment to disabled college students, seeking to lower barriers that might prevent them from a comprehensive college experience. For more information about Disability Support Services, visit http://disabilityservices.siuc.edu/.

To learn more about how the Department of Public Safety at SIUC promotes and protects student well being, visit www.dps.siu.edu/.