National Statistics

***The 2021 statistics shown on our website are from the World Health Organization (WHO).

We know that violence against persons with disabilities is an epidemic with rape and abuse occurring at a rate ten times more than the rate of the general population (Harrell and Rand, 2010). Violence against persons with disabilities persist in part because of the following perceived vulnerabilities:
• Do not realize that what they are experiencing is abuse
• Lack communication options such as sign language or interpreters
• Rely on the perpetrator for care and/or financial assistance
• Lack the support they need to get help
• Fear they will not be believed if they report
• Survivors have previous negative experiences with law enforcement, domestic violence/sexual violence services, or other victim agencies
• Have a lack of education on what constitutes as healthy relationships
• Do not know where or who to contact for help

Voices of Change (VOC) seeks to provide navigation and advocacy services to survivors of sexual violence with disabilities and their families. VOC incorporates the voices and stories of persons with disabilities and their families who have lived through similar experiences. VOC is an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those with disabilities impacted by sexual violence. VOC  believes in helping victims become survivors.

General Statistics
According to the 2021 World Health Organization (WHO) website, there are over 1 billion people, or about 15% of individuals, who live with some form of a disability

Also, according to the WHO children with disabilities are:
  • 4 times more likely to experience violence then non-disabled children
  • 3.7 times more likely than non-disabled children to be victims of violence
  • 3.6 times more likely to be victims of physical violence then non-disabled children
  • 2.9 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than non-disabled children
  • 4.6 times the risk of sexual violence than their non-disabled peers
  • 5% of the individuals had no known relationship with the victim
  • 10% were other relatives
  • 14.7% was an intimate partner
  • 30.3% was a stranger
  • 40% of the accused perpetrators were well known/casual acquaintances
According to Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 2009-2015, reasons for crimes against going unreported to police were:
  • 0.1% said insurance would not cover
  • 3.0% of victim’s report police would not do anything
  • 20.4% was not important enough to the victim to report it
  • 20.8% claim the police would not help
  • 36.8% was unknown
  • 40% dealt with it in another way

Things such as, lack of education, stigma and lack of social support for providers who care for them, put individuals with disabilities at a higher risk of abuse

Unfortunately, all the statistics documented for children with disabilities, are for children ages 12 and up, living among the general population in household settings. (This, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).)

The Adult Advocacy Centers (AAC) Conducted a survey to Ohio County Boards of Developmental Disabilities in Fall of 2019, called the “Needs Assessment: Fall 2019”. Per this report:
• 34% of the Boards reported there is no treatment protocol that exists in their county for crime victims with disabilities
• 69% reported there are no existing support groups for crime victims with disabilities

The AAC asked what the biggest barrier/obstacle to providing services to crime victims with disabilities?
• 51% said it was due to lack of resources
• 29% said lack of collaboration
• 11% said disregarding people with disabilities
• 6% said not applicable or no answer
• 3% said there were no barriers

The AAC asked, how often are crimes committed against people with disabilities taken to grand jury?
• 26% said seldom
• 20% said never
• 20% said very rare
• 17% said fairly regularly
• 11% said was unknown
• 6% said only theft cases have been taken to grand jury

The AAC asked, when asked what is the best way to offer support for crime victims with disabilities. The answers were:
• 40% said collaboration and support
• 17% said no answer
• 17% said training and education
• 14% said more programs and resources
• 9% said no support needed
• 3% said establishment of a protocol

These numbers are alarming! This is a GLOBAL EPIDEMIC. If we don’t begin raising more awareness, educating to reduce the risk and having conversations with our children from a young age, sadly, the numbers will only continue to increase.

We all think “It will never happen to my child.” I know. I thought that too and I did educate my children from a very young age. The fact is, sexual abuse DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE! It doesn’t matter your race, your religious beliefs, your social or financial status.... UNFORTUNATELY, IT HAPPENS. You may feel alone, but you are NOT. We are here to help you! ~ Nicole Moehring, Founder, Voices of Change 2018 ~