People With Disabilities At Greater Risk For Violence, Subsequent Mental Health Problems

While stories exists in which people stand up for those with disabilities, there are also an alarming number of reports of discrimination against them. Perhaps most disturbing are the reports of sexual and physical violence against people with disabilities — and the consequences that those experiences have on those involved.

A recent report shows that people with disabilities are more likely to be the recipients of physical and sexual violence — and that they are at a high risk for suffering from subsequent mental ill-health following the ordeals.

The recent World Report on Disability highlighted violence as a leading cause of death among disabled people. The research was published on February 20, and assessed how often people with disabilities — both mental and physical — experience various kinds of violence. The authors of the report analyzed information from the 2009-2010 British Crime Survey to estimate the odds of a person with physical or mental disabilities experiencing physical, sexual, domestic or non-domestic violence.

The survey did not include people with disabilities who live in group homes or institutions.

Report authors found that the odds of being a victim of violence is greatly increased if one has a disability. The chances of being a victim of sexual or physical violence is three times higher for those with mental illness-related disabilities. The chances are two times higher for those with physical disabilities.

It is important to note that not only are people with disabilities more likely to be victims of violence, but they are twice as likely to “experience emotional difficulties following violence” than other victims.

The authors reports that the purpose of their investigation is to highlight the need for medical professionals to be aware of the greater risks of domestic and non-domestic violence for those with disabilities.

What do you think could be done to decrease the risk of violence for those with disabilities?

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