Researchers reported that adults with mental illness were at three times the risk for being victims of violence, and those with physical disability at a twofold risk vs. healthy adult. Moreover, those with any disability were more likely to experience emotional difficulties as a result of their victimization.
According to WHO and the World Bank, violence is the leading cause of morbidity among adults with disabilities, who comprise approximately 15% of the global population.
Hind Khalifeh, a PhD candidate at the University College London, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2009-2010 British Crime Survey, which includes information on 44,398 adults living in residential households in England and Wales. The researchers performed logistic regression analyses to estimate the relative odds of being a victim of past-year physical and sexual violence in those with both mental and physical disabilities vs. healthy adults.
Institutionalized patients with disabilities were excluded from the study.
Adjusting for sociodemographics, behavior and area of residence, the researchers found that both those with mental illness (adjusted OR=3.0; 95 CI, 2.3-3.8) and those with non-mental disability (AOR=1.8; 95% CI, 1.5-2.2) had greater odds of being a victim of past-year violence. The raised odds for domestic and non-domestic violence among those with any disability were comparable, they said.
Victims with disability were significantly more likely to have emotional problems — including anxiety, depression or panic attacks — following violence (P<.001).
In 2009, 7.5% (95% CI, 5.7-9.3) of individuals with any disability were victims of violence across England and Wales, resulting in an estimated cost of £1.51 billion, or approximately $2.3 billion.
“The significant public health and economic burden calls for an urgent assessment of the causes of this violence, and national policies on violence prevention in this vulnerable group,” the researchers wrote.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.