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Abuse of Women with Disabilities: Policy Implications

Nosek MA, Howland CA, Young ME. Abuse of women with disabilities: Policy implications. Journal of Disability Policy Studies 1997;8:157-176.


According to the National Study of Women with Physical Disabilities, the prevalence of abuse was not significantly different between women with and without disabilities. Women with physical disabilities, however, reported significantly longer durations of abuse. Unique vulnerabilities to abuse experienced by women with disabilities include social stereotypes of asexuality and passivity, acceptance of abuse as normal behavior, lack of adaptive equipment, inaccessible home and community environments, increased exposure to medical and institutional settings, dependence on perpetrators for personal assistance, and lack of employment options. In order to enable the identification of women with disabilities who are in abusive situations and their referral to appropriate community services, policy changes are needed to increase training for all types of service providers in abuse interventions, improve architectural and attitudinal accessibility to programs for battered women, increase the responsiveness of adult protective services, increase options for personal assistance, expand the availability of affordable legal services, and improve communication among community services.

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