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Disabled Adults More Apt to Be Victims of Violence: Study
Date:2/27/2012

MONDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Disabled adults are at higher risk of being victims of violence than adults who aren't disabled, new research finds.

Those with mental illness are particularly vulnerable, with about 24 percent reporting having experienced physical, sexual or "intimate partner" violence during the past year, according to the study published online Feb. 27 in The Lancet.

For the study, researchers from Liverpool John Moores University in England analyzed the results of 26 prior studies that included some 21,500 people with a range of physical and mental disabilities from seven countries -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa.

The meta-analysis, which pools the results of prior research, found that disabled adults are 1.5 times more likely to be a violence victim than those without a disability, while adults with mental illness are nearly four times more likely to be victimized.

About 3 percent of people with physical, mental, emotional or other health problems that restrict activities experienced violence within the past 12 months, the investigators found.

About 6 percent of people with intellectual disabilities were victimized in the past year, while one-quarter of people with mental illnesses were, the researchers said.

"Lifetime exposure to violence, and the proportions of individuals with disability who are directly threatened with violence or otherwise live in fear of becoming a victim, are likely to be substantially higher than our estimate," study lead author Mark Bellis said in a university news release.

More information

The U.S. National Alliance on Mental Illness has facts about mental illness.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Liverpool John Moores University, news release, Feb. 27, 2012


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