Victims/Survivors with Disabilities

“One of five women is limited in a major life activity by a disability, and one in ten have a serious disability, according to the U. S. Census, Although conflicting information exists, current research leads us to believe that the incidence rate of domestic violence against women with disabilities is about the same as any other group of women, yet victims with disabilities are more likely to stay longer in an abusive situation and have fewer options for safety due to systemic and physical barriers in the community.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed only a little more than ten years ago, and many adults with disabilities have had a lifetime of negative encounters with social service and criminal justice systems. As a result of prior ineffective remedies and harmful consequences, victims may be hesitant to use systems and resources as a part of safety planning. Victims may have a fear of becoming institutionalized in a nursing home or rehabilitation center, or other loss of self-autonomy, if abuse is disclosed to system representatives.”

 New Beginnings does not discriminate based on gender, age, race, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental or emotional ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation.

The New Beginnings shelter is ADA accessible. Click here to read more about our emergency shelter.

Safety Planning- In a Crisis

The primary goal of locating a safe place remains true for all victims. The advocate will want to quickly find out:

  • What is the individual experiencing?
  • What does she fear and how does her disability impact the situation?
  • What specific tasks are problematic in reaching safety and what accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these concerns?
  • Is the support services staff that the victim works with allied with the abuser?

The advocate then needs to evaluate the effectiveness of existing accommodations and determine if other strategies are needed.

Adapted from: Hoog, Cathy. (2002). MODEL PROTOCOL ON SAFETY PLANNING FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS WITH DISABILITIES. Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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