An important report compiled by the Abuse & Disability Project of Los Angeles, California, reveals that abuse of people with disabilities is both overwhelmingly prevalent and largely ignored.
The comprehensive survey involved more participants—7,200 from all over the country—than any others of its kind. Taken from May to October 2012, respondents were individuals with disability as well as family members, advocates, social workers, law enforcement and other professionals involved with the disability community.
The types of abuse described included:
- 87.7% emotional and verbal abuse
- 50.6% physical abuse
- 41.6% sexual abuse
- 37.3% neglect
- 31.5% financial abuse
Other findings revealed:
- Over 70% of people with disabilities report abuse.
- Over 60% of immediate family members report abuse of loved ones with disability.
- 90% of abuse victims report that abuse happened more than once, with more than half saying it had happened “too many times… to count.”
- Less than 40% of abuse victims report incidents to the authorities.
- Less than half of reported incidents ever see a response.
Victims reporting more than ten instances of abuse came from all over the disability spectrum, such as mental health disability (59.9%) or mobility (45.7%).
“Abuse of people with disabilities is a hidden epidemic with a huge number of invisible victims,” said Jim Stream, a co-author of the study.
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