Violence against women and girls with disabilities
Facts & Figures
Extent of violence against women and girls with disabilities
For a long time, violence against women and girls with disabilities was a taboo issue. Yet women with disabilities are much more frequently affected by various forms of violence than non-disabled women. A handicap often involves increased vulnerability and a higher risk of experiencing violence.
The first representative findings of a study commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth on the “Living Situation of and Strain on Women with Impairments and Disabilities in Germany “ (2011) confirm this:
Women with various disabilities (with and without severe disability passes) who live in institutions for the disabled or in private households reported sexual violence during their childhood or youth as well as during adulthood two or three times more often than women without disabilities. All in all, almost half of the women interviewed reported sexualised violence during their childhood, youth or adulthood. Between 30% and 50% of women in institutions had experienced sexual violence; almost every other woman amongst those living in their own households was affected.
Moreover, women with disabilities experience physical violence almost twice as often as non-disabled women: 3 out of 5 (between 60% - 75%) of women interviewed reported physical violence during adulthood.
Women with disabilities are significantly more often exposed to psychological abuse from their parents and during adulthood. 70-90% of women living in institutions said that they had experienced psychological violence. At least every other disabled woman of those living in their own households was affected by psychological violence exercised by parents; 75% said that they had experienced psychological violence during adulthood.
Women, who live or used to live in institutions for the disabled, are very often affected by various forms of violence. This includes forms of structural violence and discrimination in the everyday life of the institutions.
Many of the women interviewed also had a severely limited sense of security both in their social environment and in public space.
Moreover, the study revealed the connection between disabilities and violence: women with disabilities often repeatedly experience violence during their lives; at the same time, violence can result in severe impairments and disabilities.