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Domestic abuse and disability

Disabled women are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than non disabled women. Disabled women experience many of the same abusive behaviours as non-disabled women.

However, disabled women may also experience other forms of control. For example:

Medication crossed out

Your partner may withhold vital care, medication or food.


Your partner may remove or damage of equipment such as sensory or mobility aids to limit your independence.

Gate in the way of feet

If you have a visual impairment or mobility problems, your partner may create obstacles around the home so that you are afraid to move around.

Crossed out funding application form

Your partner may claim disability benefits for you but won’t allow you access to the money.

Fingers pointing at woman

Your partner may use your disability to criticise or humiliate you. Or he may threaten to tell social services that you are not fit to live alone or that you can’t look after the children on your own.

Grabbing hand

Your partner may touch you sexually in a way you don’t want when they are helping you or be very rough with you.

Hand with pills

Your partner may over medicate you or use physical restraints against you.

Woman with man as shadow

Your partner may not allow you any privacy or space to be by yourself.


Woman in bubble

Disabled women also face additional barriers to safety and support. For example:

  • Some disabled women may be more physically vulnerable than non- disabled women and may be less able to escape or protect themselves from violent attacks.
  • Some disabled women may be more socially isolated as a result of their physical dependence on their partner.
  • Some disabled women may feel nervous about leaving their partner if they have had special adaptations to their home.
  • Some women may also worry about who will care for them if they move away, or about a change to their care package in a new area that could leave them with less support.
  • Sometimes the person who is abusing a woman is also disabled. Women who have experienced abuse from disabled men report difficulties in being taken seriously. This is due to the myth that disabled people are vulnerable, and would not hurt anyone themselves. Abuse from a disabled person is never OK.

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