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Residents need to support those with special needs

This month, news media began reporting about a terrible incident in Chicago where a teenager with special needs was held captive and brutally beaten, all recorded on Facebook Live.

As an organization that advocates and supports people with developmental disabilities, the NJ Statewide Self-Advocacy Network is heartbroken and appalled by this incident.

Unfortunately, the victim’s disability played a significant role in his being targeted for this crime. Study after study has shown that people with disabilities are three times more likely to be the victim of violent crime than people without disabilities. The victim has a cognitive disability which made him more vulnerable and marked him as an easy target.

The alleged attackers are classmates of the victim, people who he knew and thought were his friends. It is shocking that people would commit such a horrific crime against anyone, but especially someone they know and who has a disability. We urge swift action to investigate this crime and prosecute the alleged attackers to the fullest extent of the law.

We applaud the work of The Arc of the US and The Arc of New Jersey in supporting people with developmental disabilities and their strong stand on this issue. Everyone should be outraged by this horrible incident and pledge to do more to stand up for the rights of people with disabilities.

Ellen Moskowitz
New Jersey Statewide Self-Advocacy Network Advisory Board
North Brunswick

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