Disability and Mental Health
Where a victim of domestic abuse is disabled (including mental health difficulties) their abuser may be their carer. They may feel reliant upon him/her for personal care or mobility.
A person with a disability can be subject to physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse in any or all of the ways that a non-disabled person can, but in addition they may experience the following:
- The abuser may withhold care or undertake it neglectfully or abusively
- The victim feels dependent on them for their day to day needs and financial status, or fear being institutionalised if they remove themselves from the relationship
- The victim may lack capacity to understand what is happening to them and experience barriers to accessing specialist services
- They may have particular concerns about moving out of their home, especially where it has been specially adapted or if they currently rely on their partner/carer to live independently.
It is crucial for agencies to listen to the victim or potential victim's concerns – remember that they may not be able to articulate why they believe they are at risk or provide tangible evidence of the risks.
- Public Health England 2015 - Disability and Domestic Abuse: Risks, Impacts and Response
- Women's Aid - Domestic abuse and your mental health
- Additional risks to disabled people and those with life limiting illnesses
- LGA: Adult safeguarding and domestic abuse: a guide to support practitioners and managers (Feb 2015)
- Skills for Care: Practice Briefing on implications of Care Act 2014
- Sane – Good practice guidelines for domestic abuse and mental health services
- Safelives – 10 key practice points supporting victims of domestic abuse with learning difficulties