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Domestic Violence and Disability Group welcomes new research

11 June 2013

Domestic Violence and Disability Group welcomes new research

“Finally a report has been produced that details the extent of violence against disabled people in New Zealand,” says Nicola Owen, a member of the Auckland Domestic Violence and Disability working group (DVD). “This is a timely report, focusing not just on the problem, but also a range of solutions, defined by disabled people and those who work alongside them.”

The report: The hidden abuse of disabled people residing in the community: An exploratory study, written by Dr Michael Roguski for Tairawhiti Community Voice is a comprehensive exploration of the kinds of abuse experienced by disabled people and clarifies the range of people who are abusers. The Domestic Violence Act covers abuse by people in a domestic relationship, but does not cover abuse by people who provide often intimate and personal daily care services to disabled people.

Ms. Owen, who works at Auckland Disability Law says: “we receive calls every week from disabled people who are being abused by family, friends, partners or care givers and it’s very frustrating because there are very few services that are accessible and almost no safe places for victims to go to escape abuse. We urge the government to take urgent action on this report, and the recommendations that it contains.”

Research report available here: http://giscoss.co.nz/ProjectsResearch/ResearchProject.aspx


[Scoop copy of report: TCV_Report_June2013.pdf]


The Auckland Domestic Violence and Disability (DVD) group is a group of disabled people and people working in the areas of disability and domestic violence committed to ending violence against disabled people.

DVD meets monthly to plan campaigns, develop educational activities and share information.

If you are interesting in joining the DVD group, please contact: Dale Little dale@mentalhealth.org.nz

Disability is related to sexual and domestic violence in two ways.
1. Disabled people are more likely to be abused both as children and adults than non-disabled people. It is not possible to give reliable statistics as the numbers vary according to study design, the population studied, methodology etc. However, the consensus is that “Violence against women with disabilities has been identified as not only more extensive than amongst the general population but also more diverse in nature than for women in general.” [Howe K, (2000) Violence Against Women With Disabilities - An Overview of the Literature. Women with Disabilities Australia. Accessed from www.wwda.org.au on December 10, 2011]

2. Domestic violence can result in short and long term disability including acquired brain injury, mental health problems, blindness, hearing loss and muscular skeletal injuries. Deliberate neglect and abuse can cause chronic illness and loss of function (mental and physical), which results in long-term disability. Sexual violence is strongly associated with mental health problems and could also result in physical disability and brain injury as a result of physical attacks associated with the sexual violence.

In New Zealand domestic violence legislation, domestic violence is defined as occurring between people who live in a domestic relationship – not necessarily a sexual relationship. For disabled people the relationships that this can include are much wider, as disabled people are reliant on a range of people to support them.

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