Abuse of people with disability
Acts of violence can affect anyone. But Australians with disability are more likely than those without disability to have experienced violence, abuse or sexual harassment at some point in their lives.
- 65% of adults with disability have experienced violence after the age of 15, compared to 45% without disability
- 52% of adults with disability have experienced physical violence after the age of 15, compared to 34% without disability
- 21% of adults with disability have experienced at least 1 incident of sexual violence after the age of 15, compared to 10% without disability
Some people with disability such as those with psychosocial or intellectual disability are more likely to experience violence.
Of adults with disability, the most likely to have experienced violence after the age of 15 have:
- mental illness (74%)
- cognitive disabilities (72%)
(includes intellectual disability, stroke, and brain injury)
- Sensory disabilities (68%)
(includes sight, hearing, and speech)
- physical disability (66%)
Women with disability report higher rates of sexual violence and intimate partner violence than their male counterparts. Men with disability report higher rates of physical violence. This is also the case for adults without disability, although the rates are generally higher for men and women with disability than without.
Using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey, the only Australian population-based survey of violence and abuse which includes information on disability, the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health released new analyses in 2020 on the prevalence of violence and abuse among people with disability. These analyses are available in a series of fact sheets (below) that detail experiences of violence against all Australians with disability, as well as young people’s experiences of violence, and differences in how men and women (18 to 64 years) experience violence, based on recent experiences and throughout their lives.
- Violence against people with disability in Australia (PDF, Word)
- Violence against young people with disability (PDF, Word)
- Violence against people with disability by impairment (PDF, Word)
- Intimate partner violence and people with disability (PDF, Word)
Sources: Prevalence of violence and abuse of people with disability in Australia by the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health https://credh.org.au/nature-and-extent-of-violence/
“People with disability in Australia” by AIHW https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia/summary