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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.

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