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Women with disabilities twice as likely to be abused

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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 severe injuries

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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 months.


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 face.


'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

This article was originally produced by The ABC.

 

To read the rest of this article visit the ABC website.   http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/disabled-women-twice-as-likely-to-face-violence/5044814

 

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