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Children with Disabilities & Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet

August 13, 2011 Comments off

Children with Disabilities & Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet (PDF)
Source: California Child Abuse Training and Technical Assistance Centers

Perpetrators are likely to be male, either family or extended family, or caregivers in an institutional/home setting such as schools, afterschool programs and other service delivery locations. In fact, professional or paraprofessionals providing in-home services have also been identified as perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Victims tend to be female, although a significant number are male. There are some characteristics of the child victims that seems to increase risk of abuse, including medical needs, caregivers unable to comfort the child, a child’s conduct that is frustrating to the caregiver are some where increased physical abuse has been identified.

Children with intellectual and/or developmentally disabilities are at a higher risk for sexual abuse than others, estimates ranging from 4-10 times the rate.
Data on Prevalence of Abuse shows that Children with Disabilities are:

  • 1.7 times more likely to be abused than children without disabilities (Westat, 1991)
  • 3.4 times more likely to be abused than children without disabilities (Boystown, 2001)
  • Children with disabilities become adults with disabilities where abuse rates continue at higher rates.
  • Adults with disabilities are equally as likely to be abuse victims as the generic population (Nosek, 1999)
  • The extent of the abuse is “much worse” for women with disabilities (personal care indignities & abandonment)
  • Increased rates of abuse by both men and women with disabilities from 31-83% For women with mental retardation & other intellectual disabilities rates from 40-90%
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