The Disability and Abuse Project today released a report that gives low grades to state and local agencies for failing to respond adequately to widespread abuse of children and adults with disabilities.Some autism-specific findings:
The Report -- "Abuse of People with Disabilities: Victims and Their Families Speak Out" -- analyzes the results of what may be the largest survey of its kind in the nation. More than 7,200 people took the survey which inquired into the experiences of people with disabilities as victims of abuse and bullying. Family members, advocates, service providers and various types of professionals also responded.
Over 70% of people with disabilities said they had been victims of abuse. More than 50% of these victims had experienced physical abuse, with some 41% having been victims of sexual abuse. Nearly 9 of 10 respondents with disabilities had suffered verbal or emotional abuse. Most victims said they had experienced abuse on more than 20 occasions.
- Some disability types had a higher incidence of abuse than others. For example, 74.8% of people with mental health conditions reported they had been victims of abuse, while 67.1% of those with a speech disability, 66.5% of those with autism, 62.5% of those with an intellectual or developmental disability, and 55.2% of those with a mobility disability reported having experienced such abuse.
- The rate of sexual abuse varied greatly among victims depending on the type of disabilities they had. Some 47.4% of people with mental health conditions reported they had been victims of sexual abuse, whereas 34.2% of those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, 31.6% of those with a mobility disability, and 24.9% of those with autism reported they had experienced sexual abuse.
- The rate of victimization reported by various disability communities (defined as people with disabilities or pwd and families) was rather consistent, with the following victim types reporting they had been abused 10 or more times: mental health (59.4%), mobility (45.7%), autism (44.3%), speech (43.8%), and I/DD (39.9%).
- The rate of reporting varied among specific “disability communities” (pwd and families). Some 55.4% of victims with autism reported abuse, while 52.8% of those with a speech disability, 44.2% of those with a mental health condition, and 39.5% of those with a mobility disability did so.
- People with autism and people with mental health conditions were victims of bullying at a significantly higher rate than people with other types of disabilities. The following are the rates of bullying reported by various disability communities (pwd and families): autism (77%), mental health (74.7%), speech (66.8%), I/DD (64.3%), and mobility (55%).