Report shows scale of violence against people with disability

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Posted 1 month ago by Nicole Pope

People with disability are 1.5 times as likely to have experienced emotional abuse from a partner than people without disability [Source: Shutterstock]
People with disability are 1.5 times as likely to have experienced emotional abuse from a partner than people without disability [Source: Shutterstock]

A second report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed people with disability are almost two times more likely to have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their partners.

The report Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019 shines a spotlight on the country’s prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence.

It builds on the AIHW’s inaugural Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018 report (AIHW 2018) but presents new information on vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disability.

The previous report highlighted that women were overwhelmingly the victims of family, domestic and sexual violence with partners posing the greatest risk of physical and sexual violence and emotional abuse against women.

Shockingly, the report found further evidence that people with disability are almost two times more likely to have experienced this sort of violence.

It also revealed people with disability are 1.5 times as likely to have experienced emotional abuse from a partner than people without disability and women, and men with disability are more likely to report such abuse.

Among the findings, 44 percent (more than two in five people) of people with disability had been sexually harassed in their workplace in the previous five years, compared with 32 percent of people without disability.

Senior Policy Officer of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Dr Meg Clement-Couzner says the findings reflect their experience as disability advocates.

“Perpetrators are more likely to target people with disability, particularly women and girls with disability.

“Often mainstream domestic and family violence (DVF) services are not accessible for us, making it even harder to get help.

“One of the reasons the Royal Commission is so important is that it will shine a light on the way perpetrators of domestic violence target those of us with disability.”

Dr Clement-Couzner says PWDA currently has a project working with pilot organisations in the DVF sector in New South Wales to improve accessibility, and this needs to be funded and rolled out state-wide and nationally.

The report was informed by new data on telephone and web-based support services, community attitudes, sexual harassment, homicides, child protection, hospitals and specialist homelessness services.

You can download and read the report here.

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