Women with disabilities twice as likely to be abused
New research out today shows that
Australian women with a disability are twice as likely as others to
be violently abused. Dr Leanne Dowse told Breakfast that there
needs to be a coordinated national response to what is a growing
problem, as James Bourne writes.
A shocking new report conducted by the University of New South
Wales has revealed that violent experiences faced by disabled women
are not only more common, but will last longer and result in more
Dr Leanne Dowse, lead researcher of the 'Stop the Violence'
project, says a survey conducted as part of the research shows that
service providers across the disability, justice and mental health
sectors were able to identify that at least a quarter of women who
presented to them had experienced violence in the last 12
She believes the real numbers may be even higher.
'One of the things we do know is that women with disabilities
don't tend to seek services,' Dr Dowse told RN Breakfast.
'When violence, disability and gender combine, generally speaking
violent services aren't equipped to deal with disability issues.
They tend not to be accessible and tend not to be able to cater to
the unique and specific needs of women with disabilities.
'Disability services are not equipped to address the issues of
violence. What we usually see is a referral system. Those (women)
who do come forward tend to end up on a bit of a roundabout.'
Beyond issues with the way sectors juggle responsibility, the
report also highlights the added risks that women with disability
'There are risks related to the nature of the care relationship
that women find themselves in,' Dr Dowse said.
'There's often dependencies around care, medication, supports
within the family and within the home. Women actually are unable to
leave those care relationships because of the sort of dependencies
that are inherent in them.
References and further information