Disability abuse

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Disabled people are affected by what is termed disability abuse, and such activity has been cited as a hate crime.[1] The abuse is not limited to those who are visibly disabled such as wheelchair-users or physically deformed such as those with a cleft lip but also those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia, and other disabilites, including Asperger's syndrome, Down syndrome[2][3] and developmental coordination disorder.[4][5] In the latter case, this is linked to a poor ability in physical education, and this behaviour can be encouraged by the unthinking physical education teacher. Abuse of the disabled is not limited to schools. There are many known cases in which the disabled have been abused by staff of a "care institution", such as the case revealed in a BBC Panorama programme on a Castlebeck care home (Winterbourne View) near Bristol which led to its closure and the suspension and sacking of some of the staff.[6]

Those with learning disabilities are often not as able to explain things to other people so are more likely to be disbelieved or ignored if they do complain.

There have been numerous cases of parents of children with disabilities who have murdered their children because of their disabilities. Sometimes the parents kill themselves alongside their child.

Disabled girls and women are particularly vulnerable to abuse.[7]

Bullying[edit]

A 2012 survey by the Interactive Autism Network found that 63% of children with autism are bullied in the United States.[8]

Over a third of autistic adults said they had been bullied at work in a survey by the UK's National Autistic Society.[9]

82% of children with learning disability in the UK are bullied, according to Mencap, and 79% are scared to go out in case they are bullied.[10]

Bullying is also a cause of disability and exacerbates existing disabilities.

Sexual abuse[edit]

Disabled people are more vulnerable to sexual abuse than the general population for numerous reasons. As they are less likely to report what has happened to them, their rapists are able to get away with the abuse. Victims often not taken seriously due to ableism which intersects with societal myths about sexual violence, for example, that 'ugly' people aren't raped, since society's beauty standard devalues disability.

According to Valenti-Hein & Schwartz, only 3% of sexual abuse cases involving developmentally disabled people are ever reported, more than 90% of developmentally disabled people will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives, and 49% will experience 10 or more abusive incidents.[11]

Murder[edit]

Extreme disability abuse can lead directly or indirectly to death. In Tanzania, people with albinism are hunted by witchcraft practitioners for their organs.[12]

In England and Wales over 1700 disability hate crimes were recorded by police in 2011 and 2012, but a review by the Crown Prosecution Service said that they are 'overlooked' and 'under-reported'.[13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quarmby, Katharine. "Scapegoat: Why we are failing disabled people". Portobello, 2011.
  2. ^ Sainsbury, Clare. "Martian in the Playground: Understanding the schoolchild with Asperger's syndrome". Paul Chapman Publishing, 2000.
  3. ^ Attwood, Tony. "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome". Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007, pp95-111.
  4. ^ Kirby, Amanda. "Dyspraxia: The Hidden Handicap". Souvenir Press, 1999, pp106-113.
  5. ^ Brookes, Geoff. "Dyspraxia". Continuum, 2005, 2007 (second edition), pp43-46.
  6. ^ "Four arrests after patient abuse caught on film". BBC News. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2011-09-03.  Consequences of the BBC undercover report
  7. ^ "Women and girls with disabilities". UN Enable. 
  8. ^ "Survey finds 63% of children with autism bullied". CBS News. 
  9. ^ Cassidy, Sarah (2012-05-14). "Autistic adults bullied and not supported at work, poll shows". The Independent (UK) (London). 
  10. ^ "Disablist bullying is wrecking children's lives says Mencap". Mencap. 2007-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  11. ^ "People with Mental Retardation & Sexual Abuse". by Leigh Ann Davis. 
  12. ^ Sociocultural aspects of albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa: mutilations and ritual murders committed in east Africa (Burundi and Tanzania). 
  13. ^ "Disability hate crime is 'overlooked and under-reported'". BBC. 2013-03-21. 
  14. ^ "People with Mental Retardation & Sexual Abuse". The Awareness Center. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Baumhoefner, Arlen Financial Abuse of the Deaf And Hard of Hearing Exposed (2006)
  • Fitzsimons, Nancy M. & Sobsey, Dick Combating Violence & Abuse of People With Disabilities: A Call to Action (2009)