Disabled children are more likely to become victims of violence than those without disabilities, findings of a new study show.
According to a review commissioned by World Health Organisation, children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to experience violence than children without disabilities.
Findings from the review indicate that such children are almost 3.7 times more likely to be victims of any sort of violence; 3.6 times more likely to be victims of physical violence and 2.9 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than children without disabilities.
The findings of the current study are based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 cross-sectional studies published between 1990 and 2010. The studies included data of 18,374 children with disabilities, all habitats of high-income countries.
While 16 of the studies had data on prevalence of violence against children 18 and younger, 11 presented facts on risk, compared with children without disabilities.
26.7 of children with disabilities experienced violence during their lifetimes. Violence included physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, or neglect.
While 20.4 percent became victims of physical violence, 13.7 percent suffered sexual abuse, researchers highlighted.
The risk of violence was highest for children with mental or intellectual disabilities. Such children faced highest odds of sexual violence compared to children with other disabilities or those without a disability,
?The results of this review prove that children with disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to violence, and their needs have been neglected for far too long,? Dr Etienne Krug, Director of WHO?s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability marked.
?The impact of a child?s disability on their quality of life is very much dependent on the way other individuals treat them,? lead researcher on the review, Dr Mark Bellis, Director of the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, a WHO Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention, stressed.
?It is the duty of government and civil society to ensure that such victimization is exposed and prevented,? Bellis concluded.
The findings are reported online in The Lancet.