Victimization of Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan

M. H. Fisher, C. Corr, L. Morin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compared to those without disabilities, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at increased risk of experiencing victimization across the lifespan. In this chapter, we discuss the progression of victimization from child abuse in early childhood, to bullying during the school-age years, and finally to criminal victimization in adulthood. We begin with a discussion of the notion that victimization is a lifelong concern for individuals with IDD. We then describe the methodological difficulties in establishing reliable definitions and prevalence rates for specific forms of victimization. After noting these limitations, we discuss three types of victimization in greater detail. In terms of child abuse, we discuss the prevalence of abuse among children with disabilities, while also discussing risk factors and potential prevention and intervention strategies. Next, we discuss the experiences of bullying of adolescents with IDD, while providing information on why these students are at increased risk and which prevention and intervention strategies might be implemented to reduce bullying of students with IDD. Finally, we discuss criminal forms of victimization experienced by adults with IDD, while noting specific risk factors that increase risk and the importance of prevention and intervention strategies. We end this chapter with a call for additional longitudinal victimization investigations to better understand the lifespan perspective of victimization and the relation between risk factors and experiences; an emphasis on the relation between disability etiology and experiences of victimization; and a focus on resilience and well-being of individuals with IDD who experience victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-280
Number of pages48
JournalInternational Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bullying
  • Child abuse
  • Disability
  • Exploitation
  • Victimization
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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