Trapped, disabled, abused.

If you ever thought that disabled people were automatically regarded with kindest, think again:

If a disabled person’s Assistive Technology (AT) is taken away they can be trapped, helpless

Disabled people are twice as likely to be targeted for domestic violence; perpetrators seek the vulnerable, and those who need to use Assistive Technology (AT) for example, can be easy to control.

I remember arguing with the M.S society – they had a conference at which there would be a separate meeting for carers to discuss their issues! I pointed out that those being cared for might also have issues about how they were being cared for, but they wouldn’t have it!

The more vulnerable the person, the more likely it is that abusers will target them, so they need more protection, not less. We’ve started to take domestic violence against non-disabled people seriously but not against those who are twice as likely to be targeted and less able to do anything about it unsupported! Also, disabled people can take onboard society’s attitudes – aren’t I lucky to have this non-disabled partner!

Domestic violence against disabled people can often be invisible – so AT equipment stops working, or things are left out that will trip the disabled person, or their medication can be tampered with or missing. Even more often than abled-bodied targets, many disabled targets return to their abuser because it’s impossible to leave, and the abled-bodied community that springs the trap by not supporting escape.

In England and Wales, there are only five services to support those targeted by domestic violence who are disabled, and all those services are in London or the southeast! If you think it’s hard to get a rapist convicted for the rape of a non-disabled woman, try convicting a rapist for the rape of a woman with a learning disability – regarded as unreliable in court.

While working as a full-time union rep in the BBC, I always argued that disabled people must be considered first, not last. Often reasonable adjustments for disabled people make life easier for everyone. The most popular landline phone equipment was that with the largest buttons – designed for the eyesight impaired, guard rails safeguard everyone.

I have posted from Jane Monckton Smith’s excellent book ‘In Control’ about the domestic violence trap for non-disabled people – I shudder to think what the disabled equivalent of that book will say!

The documentary above mentions the case of a disabled woman being held for over 20 hours in a police cell because her hearing partner managed to speak to the police first and persuade them that he was the target of the domestic violence, not her.

#Dispatches #InControl #DisabledPeopleUnprotected #TrappedDisabledAbused

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