Disabled Canadians Twice as Likely to Be Victims of Violent Crime, Study Finds

Disabled Canadians Twice as Likely to Be Victims of Violent Crime, Study Finds

Disabled Canadians are nearly twice as likely to be victims of a violent crime than those without a disability, according to a Statistics Canada report.

The agency arranged a survey in 2014 on how many crimes Canadians with disabilities experience. About 3.8 million Canadians aged 15 and older have cerebral palsy and other disabilities — about 14 percent of the population.

Researchers surveyed people who said they had a physical, sensory, cognitive or mental health disability and were not living in an institution.

Thirty-nine percent of disabled Canadians reported they had experienced a violent crime — a substantially higher proportion than non-disabled Canadians. Such crimes include physical or sexual assault and robbery.

Disabled women were victims of 45 percent of violent crimes against women. The figure was 33 percent for disabled men, showing that disabled women were much more likely to be violent crime victims.

Another finding was that the violent crime rate against both men and women with mental health or cognitive disabilities was almost four times higher than against Canadians without a disability.

Thirty percent of violent crimes against the disabled occurred in their home, versus 17 percent for non-disabled people, the survey showed.

Most of those who committed violent crimes against women — including women with disabilities — were a friend, acquaintance, or neighbor. Men with disabilities were more likely to be victimized by a friend, acquaintance, or neighbor than men without a disability, but less likely to be victimized by a stranger.

In addition, disabled Canadians were more likely to be victimized by a spouse or common-law partner than those without a disability. In fact, 6.2 percent of women with a disability reported being victimized by their spouse in the previous five years, compared with 2.7 percent of women without a disability. Men with a disability were also more likely to experience spousal violence than men without a disability.

Thirty-eight percent of women with a disability who were victimized by a spouse reported that they feared for their life due to the violence, compared with 26 percent of women without a disability and 14 percent of men with a disability.

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