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What is violence against person with disabilties?


Violence is any physical, psychological or sexual maltreatment, abuse or neglect of a person.  The problem of assault and abuse against persons with disabilities is complicated by the fact that most of the abuse is perpetrated by someone whom the individual has an established relationship such as family member, intimate partner or spouse, or a support giver (e.g., health care service provider, doctor, nurse, and residential staff or attendant).   Abuse against a person with disabilities is a violation of trust and an abuse of power in a relationship where the person  should have the right to absolute safety. In many cases, it is also a crime.

What are the facts?


  • It is estimated that 83% of women with disabilities will be sexually abused in their lifetime. (National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, 2004) 

  • Of those persons who have received care at a mental health institution as an inpatient, 80% have experienced physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2005)

  • Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable, as they are five times more likely to experience abuse. (Voices for Children, 2006).

  • More disabled men are abused than are non-disabled men. The incidence of abuse is 20% or higher in the developmentally disabled and deaf community.

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