People with disability face much greater risk of violence than people without disability
A new report published today reveals that in the last year women with disability were more than twice as likely to report sexual violence as women without disability. A quarter of young people with disability reported violence in the last year compared to 11% of those in older age groups. And people with cognitive and psychological impairments reported higher rates of all types of violence compared to people with other types of impairments.
These alarming statistics appear in the research report ‘Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability in Australia’ commissioned by the Disability Royal Commission and compiled by the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH)
The report also shows that over the course of their lifetime, about two thirds of people with disability have reported some kind of violence, whether that be physical, sexual, intimate partner violence, emotional abuse and/or stalking by any perpetrator, compared to just under half of people without disability.
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.
The report used the findings of the Personal Safety Survey (PSS) administered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It’s currently the only national survey in Australia that collects data on experiences of interpersonal violence and the best available data source for the prevalence of different types of violence experienced by people with disability in Australia.
Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that there are some limitations to the data set used in this report for people with disability because we could not gather and incorporate responses from every group we would seek to hear from. The survey gathers information from men and women aged 18 years and over, and covers experiences of violence in relation to two time periods – in the last 12 months to provide an indication of current levels of violence, and since the age of 15 to give an idea of lifetime exposure.
Some key statistics available in the report:
(Based on data for people aged 18-64; rates are directly age standardised to the June 2018 Australian population)
People with disability are much more likely to experience violence than people without disability
- Over their lifetime, 64% of people with disability (2,375,997 people) report experiencing physical violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, emotional abuse and/or stalking compared to 45% of people without disability
- In the last 12 months, people with disability are at 2.2 times the risk of sexual violence in comparison to people without disability
- Young women with disability (18-29 years) are twice as likely to report experiencing sexual violence over their lifetime than young women without disability
- Over their lifetime, men with disability are 2.6 times as likely to report sexual violence compared to men without disability
Intimate partner violence
- In the last 12 months, people with disability are at 2.6 times the risk of intimate partner violence in comparison to people without disability
- In the last 12 months, people with disability are at 2.4 times the risk of being stalked than people without disability
- women with disability are most at risk of being stalked
The extent and nature of violence varies by impairment type
- In the last 12 months, people with cognitive and psychological impairments report higher rates of all types of violence in comparison to people with other types of impairments
Financial hardship is associated with a two-fold increase in the experience of violence (regardless of disability status)
People with disability who report living in financial hardship are three times as likely to experience of violence than people without disability who report no financial hardship