Individuals with disabilities are unfortunately more likely to be victims of harassment or stalking. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as physical or cognitive limitations that make them more vulnerable, or discrimination and prejudice against individuals with disabilities. In New York, however, individuals with disabilities have specific rights and protections when it comes to harassment and stalking.
Harassment and stalking are both forms of behavior that are intended to harm, intimidate, or control another person. Harassment may include unwanted contact, communication, or physical or verbal behavior that is threatening, abusive, or offensive. Stalking is a pattern of behavior that is intended to make someone feel afraid, threatened, or unsafe. This may include following someone, showing up at their home or workplace, making threatening or harassing phone calls or messages, or engaging in other similar behavior.
Under New York law, individuals with disabilities are protected from harassment and stalking just like anyone else. In fact, there are specific laws and regulations that are designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not subjected to discrimination or mistreatment of any kind. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, housing, and other areas. Additionally, the New York State Human Rights Law also prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas based on disability.
If you are a person with a disability who is experiencing harassment or stalking, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your rights. First, it is important to document any incidents of harassment or stalking, including the date, time, location, and details of what happened. You may also want to save any messages, emails, or other communications that are threatening or harassing. This documentation can be helpful if you decide to pursue legal action.
Next, consider reaching out to a lawyer who specializes in harassment and stalking cases. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options, and can provide guidance on how to proceed. Depending on the situation, you may be able to seek a restraining order or file a lawsuit against the person responsible for the harassment or stalking.
It is also important to take steps to protect your safety. If you feel threatened or unsafe, contact your local law enforcement agency or a victim services organization for assistance. They can provide you with information and resources to help you stay safe.
In addition, there are organizations and resources available specifically for individuals with disabilities who are victims of harassment or stalking. For example, Disability Rights New York is a nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy and representation for individuals with disabilities in New York.
Overall, individuals with disabilities have the same rights and protections as anyone else when it comes to harassment and stalking. It is important to document any incidents, seek legal assistance if necessary, and take steps to protect your safety. With the right support and resources, individuals with disabilities can assert their rights and live free from harassment and stalking.