Disabled people are at higher risk of domestic and non-domestic abuse.
The World Health Organisation’s 2013 World Report on Disability highlighted abuse as a leading cause of death among disabled people.
However, little is known about the true extent to which disabled people experience different abuse types, and associated health/economic costs.
It was estimated that if the risks for disabled people were similar to non-disabled people, there would have been 116,000 fewer disabled victims of violence in England and Wales in 2009 (with an estimated saving of £1.51 billion).
In 2011, Disability Wales, Welsh Women’s Aid and the University of Glamorgan worked together on a research project looking at the experiences of disabled women affected by domestic abuse in Wales.
We met with women with different impairments who have encountered various forms of abuse whether physical, psychological, sexual or financial.
The report found that there is limited information about the prevalence of domestic abuse experienced by disabled people in Wales.
Disabled people fall through the gaps of service provision, because mainstream domestic abuse services may not have the resources to deal with the specificities of abuse experienced, while few organisations of and for disabled people consider dealing with domestic abuse to be part of their remit.
While the majority of victims are women, men do experience domestic abuse and need support in the same way. It is often hard for men to get help in these situations because of fears about being ridiculed, not being believed or being treated unfairly by agencies.
National and local policies and practices lack appropriate measures to ensure disabled people receive the appropriate level of support at the right time.
Disclosure of domestic abuse may be particularly difficult for disabled people, as they may be dependent on perpetrators, and fear increased violence or independence loss and institutionalisation following disclosure.
Disability Wales is campaigning to improve services for disabled people who experience all forms of abuse.
If you are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, or are worried about a friend or relative, there are organisations in Wales that offer free, safe and confidential support.
Services for women
All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline
24 hours: 0808 80 10 800
Text phone users may also contact us via Text Talk on 1800108088010800.
Services for men
Helpline: 0808 801 0321
Mon and Tues 10.00am-4.00pm
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Men’s Advice Line
Freephone 0808 801 0327
Helpline Advisors have been trained to use Text Relay
Monday – Friday 9am-5pm
(free from landlines and from mobiles using the O2, Orange, T Mobile, Three (3), EE, Virgin, and Vodafone networks)
Some other mobile networks also offer free calls to numbers with the 0808 80xx, prefix however these are not guaranteed and users are recommended to check with their provider.
Services for Black & Ethnic Minority communities
24 hour helpline: 08007318147
Service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender people
Info Line: 08000 50 20 20.
Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm.
LGBT Cymru Helpline
Helpline – 0870 858828
Mon & Wed 7.00 – 9.00 pm (calls at 3.9p per minute)
Helpline – 020 8539 9507
Mon – Fri 9am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm