What is the Issue?

Abuse and Neglect

Children with disabilities are significantly more at risk for abuse and neglect than their peers without disabilities, according to a number of studies. The abuse tends to be more severe and last longer, and 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.