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Recognise the signs

People with disability are almost twice as likely to experience domestic and family violence.

Everyone has a responsibility to be able to recognise the signs and offer support if you think you know someone with a disability experiencing abuse.

Domestic and family violence can look different for people with disability

Domestic and family violence is a pattern of violent or abusive behaviour to maintain power and control over another person.

While people with disability can experience the same forms of violence as the broader community, they can also experience additional and unique forms of domestic and family violence.

The abuse may be perpetrated by an intimate partner, family member or informal carer.

It might look like:

  • removing, hiding, damaging or not charging equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and communication devices
  • threatening or hurting the person, their children, or their assistance animals such as Guide Dogs
  • threatening to put the person into care
  • not giving the person medication or giving them too much medication
  • threatening or misusing the person’s finances, NDIS funds or disability support pension.

Find more information about what domestic and family violence can look like or visit 1800RESPECT to find out how to support people with disability.

Unique barriers to reporting violence and seeking help can exist for people with disability

This might look like:

  • reliance on the perpetrator of the violence for personal care, mobility, transport, access to communication devices or money
  • lack of awareness that the violence they’re experiencing is wrong and never okay
  • normalisation of the experience of domestic and family violence, because of broader devaluation, marginalisation and discrimination
  • fear—or prior experiences—of not being believed because of their disability.

Challenge your thinking

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Challenge your thinking transcript (DOCX, 36 KB)