One in Three Children With Disabilities Experience Violence

Children with disabilities twice as likely to experience any form of violence (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect) than children without disabilities
One in Three Children With Disabilities Experience Violence

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FRIDAY, March 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Children with disabilities experience a high burden of all forms of violence, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online March 17 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Zuyi Fang, Ph.D., from the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Beijing Normal University, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to estimate violence against children with disabilities. Ninety-eight studies (involving 16.8 million children) were included in the analysis.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of violence against children with disabilities was 31.7 percent, and the overall odds of children with disabilities experiencing violence was higher than for children without disabilities (odds ratio, 2.08). The estimates varied by the type of violence, disability, and perpetrator. While there was a high degree of heterogeneity across most estimates, sensitivity analysis suggested a high degree of certainty for these estimates. The included studies were, on average, of medium quality. There was particular vulnerability to experiencing violence among children in economically disadvantaged contexts.

"Our findings reveal unacceptable and alarming rates of violence against children with disabilities that cannot be ignored," a coauthor said in a statement. "We must urgently invest in services and support that address the factors that place children with disabilities at heightened risk of violence and abuse, including caregiver stress, social isolation, and poverty."

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