Report into violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation against people with disability published

A new report into violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation against people with disability has been published. It revealed that people with disability are at much greater risk of experiencing physical violence than people without disability, and also made recommendations on how this data and information can be improved.

The report was created by The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) so the Disability Royal Commission could understand the experience of violence against, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people with disability.

Up until now, there has been very little data collected in Australia that specifically addresses issues of neglect and exploitation. That is why the findings of the Research Report are so important.

Some key statistics available in the report:

  • Over their lifetime, 64% of people with disability (2,375,997 people) report experiencing physical violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, emotional abuse and/or stalking compared to 45% of people without disability
  • In the last 12 months, people with disability have been at 2.2 times the risk of sexual violence in comparison to people without disability
  • Young women with disability (18-29 years) are twice as likely to report experiencing sexual violence over their lifetime than young women without disability
  • Over their lifetime, men with disability are 2.6 times as likely to report sexual violence compared to men without disability
  • In the last 12 months, people with disability are at 2.4 times the risk of being stalked than people without disability
  • In the last 12 months, people with cognitive and psychological impairments report higher rates of all types of violence in comparison to people with other types of impairments

Recommendations for improving data and information

Recommendation 1: build the evidence base by maximising the use of existing data
  • Review existing publicly available surveys and administrative data
  • Review existing data not publicly available and make results accessible to those who can use it to improve policy and service response, including contributing to the findings of the Disability Royal Commission
  • Complete a scoping exercise to determine which datasets lend themselves to data linkage and who is best placed to undertake the linkage work
Recommendation 2: address definitional complexity in data
  • Undertake a data project to identify how estimates of prevalence change according to different definitions of disability
  • In line with recommendations from the recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, consider the addition of the AIHW Disability Identifier to mainstream data sources that collect information about violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation
Recommendation 3: enhance and augment existing data collections
  • Several existing national and jurisdictional domestic and family violence and sexual assault administrative datasets do not record disability data. Mapping those data collections and exploring options for including people with disability (such as the AIHW Disability Identifier) would improve what we know about service responses to people with disability experiencing violence
  • Think about how existing national surveys might consider the experiences of violence for people with disability
  • Include people with disability in national surveys, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Personal Safety Survey and involve people with disability in creating these surveys

You can review the full report here.

For more information, please visit the Disability Royal Commission website.