People with disabilities are at greater risk of being the victims of
violence, particularly if they have a mental illness-related disability,
according to a new study.
In addition, violence is twice as likely to lead to emotional problems among
disabled people than in those who do not have disabilities, according to British
These findings suggest that doctors should be aware of the risks of both
domestic and non-domestic violence among their disabled patients, as well as
their increased risk for emotional difficulties, the researchers said in a
journal news release.
The researchers, from University College London and King's College London,
examined information compiled in the 2009-2010 British Crime Survey to estimate
the likelihood that a non-institutionalised person with physical or mental
disabilities would suffer physical, sexual, domestic or non-domestic
'Leading cause of illness and injury'
The study revealed that the odds of being a victim of violence in the past
year were three times higher for those with a mental-illness-related disability
and twice as high for those with a physical disability. The odds were similarly
increased for physical and sexual violence, and for domestic and non-domestic
UK violence risk and prevalence are similar to that of other countries,
including the United States, the researchers said. Violence is a leading cause
of illness and injury among disabled people, the release noted.
"Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of violence-prevention
programmes in people with disability that address risk factors specific to this
group, such as caregiver stress or communication barriers to disclosure," said
study author Hind Khalifeh and colleagues.
Although the study tied disability to risk for experiencing violence, it did
not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
The World Health Organization provides more information on violence
against the disabled.