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Women with disability face more violence

·2-min read

Women living with disability are almost twice as likely to experience partner violence, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

Although three in four women with disability experienced anxiety or fear following their most recent incident of physical assault by a man, fewer than one in three reported it to police.

Women living with disability were also more likely to have experienced physical violence, sexual harassment and stalking over a 12-month period, analysis of 2016 Personal Safety Survey data found.

"The greatest disparity in risk was found for partner violence, with results showing that women living with disability were nearly twice as likely as women without disability to have experienced violence by a partner over a 12-month period (2.5 per cent compared with 1.3 per cent)," ABS director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics Will Milne said.

The data showed almost six per cent of women and 5.6 per cent of men living with disability or a long-term health condition experienced violence in 2016.

It found intellectual disability raised the risk of violence for both men and women.

"Women with an intellectual (or) psychological disability were nearly three times more likely than women with a physical disability to experience violence (15 per cent compared with 5.2 per cent). For men the figure was over double (12 per cent compared with 5.8 per cent)," Mr. Milne said.

The analysis follows a report commissioned by the disability royal commission and released in March that also examined data from the Personal Safety Survey.

It found women with a disability were more than twice as likely to report sexual violence in the past year compared with women without disability.

Women can be exposed to violence specific to their experience of disability, one of the report's authors Georgina Sutherland told AAP.

"It could be about breaking assistive devices or withholding medication, reproductive coercion, we know those things are happening," she said, noting these issues were not well captured by this data.

"It's most useful to think about the drivers of violence against women, and also the drivers of violence against people with disability ... it's inequality, it's discrimination, social and economic exclusion, ableism, devaluation of people with a disability."

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