In the past five years, over four hundred and seventy people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents.
Every year on March 1st, the disability community gathers across the nation to remember disabled victims of filicide–disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers.
We see the same pattern repeating over and over again. A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a disabled person in the family. If the parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims are disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.
Since 2012, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, the American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc, and other disability rights organizations have come together at local vigils across the country to mourn those losses, bring awareness to these tragedies, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities. On March 1st, we will come together again, and we ask you to join us.
We’ve also launched Disability-Memorial.org, a memorial to the people with disabilities who were victims of filicide. Active cataloging of cases started in mid-2014; the site contains cases from 1980 to the present.