Women with disability twice as likely to experience sexual assault, says DRC

Tags Health and Wellbeing Government Royal Commission

Posted 8 months ago by Liz Alderslade

This study also uncovered alarming statistics around the violence and abuse people with disability experience over their lifetime. [Source: iStock]
This study also uncovered alarming statistics around the violence and abuse people with disability experience over their lifetime. [Source: iStock]

As Australia deals with the ongoing sexual assault cases against women in Parliament and the pervasive culture around sexual assault by men, the Disability Royal Commission released a damning report, finding that women with disability are twice as likely to experience sexual assault than women without disability.

The report was released last week just after thousands and thousands of people attended #March4Justice rallies around the country that demanded change and campaigned against violence and discrimination perpetrated against women by men.

The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) compiled the research, called the Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability in Australia, for the Disability Royal Commission, which covered a range of abuse types and how people with disability experienced violence compared to people without disability.

This research uncovered alarming statistics around the violence and abuse people with disability experience over their lifetime.

The report states that, "In Australia, violence is a serious and widespread problem. Although violence affects people from all cultures, ages and socio-economic groups, the extent, nature and impacts of violence are not evenly distributed across people and communities. 

"People with disability experience violence and abuse at significantly higher rates than people without disability. There is increasing recognition that some people may be at heightened risk including women with disability, young people with disability, as well as people with intellectual and psychosocial disability."

This research found a quarter of young people with disability had reported violence compared to 11 percent of those in older aged groups last year.

It also shows people with cognitive or psychological impairments reported higher rates of all types violence compared to people with other types of impairments. 

DRC Commissioners said in a statement that, "Up until now, there has been very little data collected in Australia that specifically addresses issues of neglect and exploitation.

"From the information gathered in this report it is now clear that people with disability remain at much greater risk of experiencing physical violence than people without disability."

Key statistics

Over the last 12 month people with disability are...

  • At 1.8 times the risk of all types of violence in comparison to people without disability

  • At 1.8 times the risk of physical violence in comparison to people without disability

  • At 2.2 times the risk of sexual violence in comparison to people without disability

  • At 2.6 times the risk of intimate partner violence in comparison to people without disability

  • At 1.9 times the risk of emotional abuse in comparison to people without disability

  • At 2.4 times the risk of being stalked than people without disability

Since the age of 15...

  • 64 percent of people with disability (2,375,997 people) report experiencing physical violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, emotional abuse, or or stalking, compared to 45 percent of people without disability

  • 52 percent of people with disability (1,913,425 people) report experiencing physical violence compared to 34 percent of people without disability

  • 21 percent of people with disability (764,792 people) report experiencing sexual violence compared to 10 percent of people without disability

  • 26 percent of people with disability (963,128 people) report experiencing intimate partner violence compared to 14 percent of people without disability

  • 31 percent of people with disability (1,154,962 people) report experiencing emotional abuse compared to 17 percent of people without disability

  • 21 percent of people with disability (729,457 people) report experiencing stalking compared to 11 percent of people without disability

Additionally, people with disability who are living in financial hardship are three times more likely to experience violence than people without disability who report no financial hardship.

To read the full report, visit the Disability Royal Commission's website.