transparent graphic for margin transparent graphic for margin Crowd LogoGUIDELINES FOR PHYSICIANS ON
THE ABUSE OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES*
 

DISPELLING THE MYTH: "No one would ever abuse a woman with a disability."

A recent national study by the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities shows that women with physical disabilities experience about the same rate of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse as women without disabilities. About 55% of each group had experienced physical or sexual abuse. The women with disabilities, however, were more likely to experience the abuse over longer periods of time. The most common perpetrators were husbands or live-in companions. Women with disabilities were more likely to experience abuse by medical professionals and by parents than women without disabilities. Abuse has a more severe negative effect on the self-esteem of women with physical disabilities than those without disabilities. Disability is associated with fewer economic resources, thereby increasing the risk of abuse. It also limits the woman's options for escaping abusive situations or accessing battered women's programs. The study identified a new dimension of abuse, called disability-related abuse, in which perpetrators withhold needed orthotic equipment (wheelchairs, braces), medications, transportation, or essential assistance with personal tasks, such as dressing or getting out of bed.
 

WHY PATIENTS DON'T TELL THEIR DOCTORS ABOUT ABUSE


REASONS PHYSICIANS DON'T ASK ABOUT ABUSE

CLUES FROM THE MEDICAL HISTORY CLUES FROM THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION WHAT PHYSICIANS CAN DO FOR AN ABUSED PATIENT Houston Area Women's Center, 528-6798
Texas Department of Human Resources, Adult Protective Services, 767-2000
Advocates for Victims of Domestic Abuse, 224--9911
Lawyer Referral Service, 237-9439
Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, 652-0077
Houston Police (family violence division), 535-7900


* Developed by the Center for Research on Women with Disabilities, Margaret A. Nosek, Ph.D., Director, based on Patricia R. Salber, M.D. and Ellen Taliaferro, M.D., The Physician's Guide to Domestic Violence (Volcano, CA: Volcano Press, 1995).


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Center for Research on Women with Disabilities
3440 Richmond Avenue, Suite B - Houston, Texas 77046
Phone: 713-960-0505   Toll Free: 800-44-CROWD    Fax: 713-961-3555
email: crowd@bcm.tmc.edu

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Baylor College of Medicine
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Last update: 1/5/1999
Copyright 1999 Baylor College of Medicine