4431.0.55.003 - Experiences of Violence and Personal Safety of People with Disability, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2018  First Issue
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KEY FINDINGS

This publication presents information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS). The survey collected information from men and women aged 18 years and over about the nature and extent of violence experienced since the age of 15.

This analysis focusses on the population with disability or a long-term health condition and their experiences of physical and sexual violence, sexual harassment, stalking and general feelings of personal safety in the year prior to the survey.

In the PSS, disability status is determined based on the respondents’ conditions at the time of the survey. It does not necessarily indicate whether they had a disability or a long-term health condition at the time of any violence, stalking or sexual harassment incidents. It is important to note the survey collects a person’s disability status at the time of interview, not at the time they experienced the violence.

The scope of the survey is persons living in private dwellings; this population excludes people with disability who resided in non-private dwellings such as care facilities. In addition, proxy interviews (when the person selected for the interview is incapable of answering for themselves due to illness/injury or language difficulties and requires a proxy to answer on their behalf) did not include sensitive content, including experiences of violence. Therefore there is an under-representation in the survey of people with a profound or severe communication disability.

EXPERIENCES OF VIOLENCE

In the PSS, violence is defined as any incident involving the occurrence, attempt or threat of either sexual or physical assault. Violence can be broken down into two main categories, sexual violence and physical violence.

In 2016:

    • Of the whole population, more people experienced violence in the form of an assault than a threat with 3.9% (or 715,300 people) reporting experiencing assault in the previous 12 months and 2.3% (or 421,600 people) reporting experiencing violent threat.
    • Of people with disability or a long-term health condition, the highest rates of violence were among people with psychological disability (14.8% or 132,500 people), and intellectual disability (14.3% or 67,900 people) with around one in seven people reporting violence. Of people with physical disability, one in twenty (5.0% or 196,300 people) reported having experienced violence during the same time period.
    • In inner regional areas, 6.7% of people with disability or a long-term health condition had experienced violence in the last 12 months (80,200 people) compared with 4.3% of people without disability or a long-term health condition (90,700 people).
    • Women with disability or a long-term health condition were more likely to have experienced violence in the preceding 12 months than women without disability or a long-term health condition (5.9% or 172,800 women with disability or long-term health condition and 4.3% or 274,400 of women without disability or a long-term health condition.
    • Men with disability or a long-term health condition were equally likely to experience violence in the last 12 months as men without disability or a long-term health condition (5.6% or 158,100 compared to 6.2% or 383,200).
    • Experiences of violence for people with disability or a long-term health condition were more common in the younger age groups (see graph below).

Proportion of people aged 18 years and over with disability or a long-term health condition, various experiences in the last 12 months by age group, 2016

Physical violence

In 2016, a higher proportion of people with disability or a long-term health condition experienced physical violence compared with people without disability or a long-term health condition (5.0% or 288,700 people and 4.2% or 531,300 people respectively).

Sexual violence

The PSS defines sexual violence as the occurrence, attempt or threat of sexual assault. In 2016, 2.2% of women with a disability or a long-term health condition (63,900 women) reported experiencing sexual violence in the previous 12 months. There was no statistical difference when compared with women with no disability or long-term health condition (1.6% or 105,300 women).

Sexual harassment

In 2016, two in five people (43.3% or 172,400) with disability or a long-term health condition in the 18-24 age group reported experiencing sexual harassment in 2016. This was almost double the proportion of people without disability or a long-term health condition in the same age group (23.6% or 433,000 people).

Stalking

In 2016, people with disability or a long-term health condition were more likely to report experiencing stalking in the past 12 months (3.1% or 180,200 people) than people with no disability or a long-term health condition in 2016 (2.1% or 259,800 people).

General Safety

Both the proportion of people with disability or a long-term health condition who used public transport alone after dark and the proportion who felt safe doing so in the last 12 months increased from 2012 to 2016. However, people with disability or a long-term health condition in 2016 were less likely than people without disability to have used public transport alone after dark in the previous 12 months (25.3% compared with 37.8%).