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About Abuse

Abuse Among People with Disabilities

Updated: May 14, 2024

What challenges can I face when reporting abuse?

Getting help and reporting the abuse is not easy, especially if you rely upon the abuser for help with daily life activities. Studies estimate that between 70% and 85% of cases of abuse against disabled adults go unreported.1 It may be challenging to report the abuse to the police or the court because:

  • you may fear not being believed since the signs of abuse may not be obvious to others;
  • you may experience feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or shame;
  • you may be afraid of losing your home or your independence, especially if the abuser is your caregiver or an intimate partner;
  • it may be hard for you to find help or access resources;
  • there may be communication barriers, especially if you are in the Deaf community;
  • service providers may have limited knowledge about your needs and abuse; or
  • the abuser may be well-known and respected.2

1 Domestic violence and disabilities, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
2 Facts & Resources on Abuse of Women with Disabilities, American Psychological Association