Homecognitive disabilitiesStatistics on Violence Against Disabled People

As I was unsuccessfully researching a different topic, I happened to stumble across this link on the Bureau of Justice Statistics web site.

The page contains various tables of the rate of violent, nonfatal crimes committed against people with disabilities versus those without. The study further separates the statistics into different types of disability.

Although I already knew that violence against those with learning, social and mental disabilities is a bigger problem than most people realize, I was still shocked at how much higher the estimated crime rates against those with cognitive disabilities were versus other disabilities.

Violence Statistics
For instance, in 2011, 23.7 out of 1000 individuals with cognitive problems were the victims of serious violent crimes, while the other categories, which were hearing, sight, ambulatory, self-care and independent living, never got higher than 12.5 out of 1000.

51 out of 1000 individuals with cognitive disabilities were victims of violent crime, while the other categories of disabilities peaked at 27.8 out of 1000.

Women with cognitive problems were slightly more likely to suffer from violence, sitting at 52 out of 1000, versus 49.9 out of 1000 for men.

Cognitive disability was defined as having serious problems with memory, decision making and concentration, due to emotional, physical or mental conditions. I realize that’s still a pretty broad definition.

Overall, having any sort of disability can be a pretty scary prospect. 47.8 out of 1000 people with any sort of disability were likely to face violence, compared to 19.4 out of 1000 people without disabilities.

I’m not writing this to garner sympathy, but only to point the issue out.

The most violence I’ve personally faced in part because of my disability was bullying in school. I still carry a very small scar from one incident on my hand. It’s hard to see if you don’t know where to look, but every time I spot it, I remember the bullying clearly, and can feel the utter helpless hopelessness which accompanied it.

That stuff sticks with you. When the name calling is backed up by failure after failure, it can become a combination leading to depression, self harm and suicide.

Violence only builds upon violence, be it towards yourself or others.

The first step to eradicating it is to become aware of the issue and then share that awareness with others.

More Information
For more information on this topic, check out the following two links. There’s a lot out there waiting to be read.

Violence Against Adults and Children With Disabilities –  A great article on the World Health Organization’s web page
Sexual Violence Against People with Disabilities – A large list of articles about sexual violence against the disabled from the Sexual Violence Research Initiative

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