‘Distressing’ disability violence rates revealed

About half of the 4.3 million people with a disability have experienced violence, a new report has revealed. Picture: File image/Getty
About half of the 4.3 million people with a disability have experienced violence, a new report has revealed. Picture: File image/Getty

PEOPLE with a disability are much more likely than other Australians to face violence, discrimination and poor health, a new report has found.

About 4.3 million Australians – nearly one in five – have a disability, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Four in five of those people have a predominantly physical disability, with one in five having a mental or behavioural disability.

Nearly half of people with a disability aged 15 or older, 47 per cent, have experienced violence compared with 36 per cent of Australians without a disability.

They are also more likely to experience psychological distress, with 32 per cent of adults with a disability reporting high or very high distress, compared to eight per cent of those without disability.

Institute spokeswoman Louise York said the data on violence against people with a disability was a distressing statistic.

“It’s really across all different types of violence, whether it’s in the home or the community,” Ms York told AAP.

“There is one positive: people are living more years on the whole without disability.

“We’re not just getting extra years of life with disability, we’re getting some extra years of life where we’re in full health.”

The majority of the complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission are about disability discrimination, making up 42 per cent of complaints in the 2017-18 financial year.

Over half of those with disability need assistance with at least one daily activity, with 39 per cent helped by formal service providers.

While the majority of Australians with a disability were satisfied with the quality of support services for them, the report noted survey data predated the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The report also found without federal rental assistance, 71 per cent of households with a person on a disability pension would be facing rental stress.

One-in-four Australians with a disability wait one or more days for an appointment with a GP for urgent medical care.

People with disabilities would also put off or avoid going to a GP, medical specialist, hospitals and dentists because of costs.

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