Research from LJMU's Centre for Public Health goes global
30 July 2012
LJMU’s Centre for Public Health has received national and international press coverage for research which reveals that children with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than children who are not disabled.
According to the research, first published in The Lancet, an estimated one in four children with disabilities experience violence during their lifetime and are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence than children who are not disabled.
About 5% of children worldwide (around 93 million children) have a moderate or severe disability. Although children with disabilities are thought to be at greater risk of violence, this is the first study to quantify the prevalence and magnitude of that risk.
After searching systematically for studies over the past 20 years containing data on the prevalence of violence against disabled children, Professor Mark Bellis and colleagues identified 17 studies including over 18,000 children (mostly aged two to 18 years) from the USA, UK, Sweden, Finland, Spain, and Israel.
They found that more than a quarter (26.7%) of children with disabilities have been exposed to some type of violence (physical, sexual, emotional abuse, or neglect) during their lifetime. Lifetime levels of physical (20.4%) and sexual violence (13.7%) were also high in these children.
Although individual studies varied, overall they estimated that disabled children are at nearly four times greater risk of experiencing violence than those without a disability, at least three times more likely to be exposed to physical violence, and have nearly three times the risk of sexual violence.
Commenting on the paper, Dr Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, which contributed to the study, says, "The results of this review prove that children with disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to violence, and their needs have been neglected for far too long. We know that specific strategies exist to prevent violence and mitigate its consequences. We now need to determine if these also work for children with disabilities. An agenda needs to be set for action.”
To see some of the press coverage about the research, click on the following links: