Domestic Violence and People with Disabilities: What to Know and How to Help
March is recognized as National Disability Awareness Month, and Someplace Safe is taking an opportunity to raise awareness about the realities for people with disabilities who also experience domestic violence.
Did you know ...
A survey conducted by the Spectrum Institute Disability and Abuse Project found that 70% of respondents with disabilities experienced some form of abuse by an intimate partner, family member, caregiver, acquaintance or stranger. Of those ...
* 87.2% experienced verbal/emotional abuse
* 50.6% experienced physical abuse
* 41.6% experienced sexual abuse
* 37.4% experienced neglect
* 31.5% experienced financial abuse
* 37.3% reported the abuse to law enforcement
* Alleged perpetrators were arrested in 10% of abuse cases reported to law enforcement.
The term "disability" encompasses many forms and degrees of impairments, including physical, developmental and psychological disabilities.
Women with disabilities are uniquely vulnerable to all forms of violence, including intimate partner violence. They are significantly more likely to experience physical, sexual, and psychological abuses and stalking than their peers without disabilities. They are also more likely to experience intimate partner control of reproductive and sexual health than women without disabilities.
Men with disabilities are more likely to experience stalking and psychological abuse than their peers without disabilities.
Furthermore, violence against people with disabilities is not recognized by society to be a significant problem, and the needs of victims and survivors are often ignored. Barriers to accessing services compound the impact of violence against people with disabilities.
How to Help
One of the most effective ways to assist victims of domestic violence with disabilities is to make resources more available and inclusive. Encourage social service agencies, hospitals, houses of worship, and other organizations to have domestic violence information and resources available and visibly displayed that are oriented to populations with specific disabilities (people who are blind, people who are deaf, people with limited mobility, people with mental illness, people with developmental disabilities, etc.)
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, reach out to Someplace Safe at 800-974-3359 24/7, or stop by an office near you.
Information adapted in part from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
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