The Issue

Abuse and Neglect

Statistics on abuse and neglect of children with disabilities vary widely. But most report that children with disabilities are significantly more at risk for abuse and neglect than their peers without disabilities, that the abuse is more severe and prolonged, and that children with disabilities are less likely to report their abuse or have their cases prosecuted.

  • Children with disabilities receiving special education services in the U.S. are 3.4 times more likely to have experienced maltreatment than children without disabilities, according to Sullivan and Knutson.
  • Similarly, the World Health Organization reports that children with disabilities were almost four times more likely than children without disabilities to be victims of violence.
  • More than a quarter of children with disabilities have been exposed to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect,  according to Lund & Vaughn-Jenson.