Crime and People with Disabilities in South Africa

Crime and People with Disabilities

Crime and people with disabilities sadly go hand in hand. Around 90 percent of women with disabilities are raped and three times more likely to die prematurely due to domestic violence.

These victims deserve justice and we need to better understand why they experience such heinous crimes.

People with disabilities are poorer, which makes them more vulnerable to crime and abuse. Its this social disadvantage that is such a big catalyst for higher rates of violent crimes. But what about those who are not poor?

 People with disabilities need help from carers and families. In these settings they are vulnerable to abuse even if they are financially advantaged as they rely on these people for help. Carers get emotionally stressed with all the demands and take it out on the disabled person.

This is a case where the victim is blamed for being so needy. It isn’t helpful either to justify such behavior – which many do.

Stressed carers are not willing to find support if they are not called out about their behavior. The flip side of that coin is that if called out they may revert to abusing the disabled person in a passive aggressive way. 

 Increased risk of abuse is a mix of factors such as:

  •  Poorly managed care homes
  • Sexual gratification
  • Depending soley on the carer to dress and undress – leaving them open to abuse

Violent crime and rape go unreported because of fear of not having help. This is common in care facilities and within households.

 A person with a disability may be discouraged due to fear of losing their home and being put into a restrictive or new home. Sometimes the victim may also have feelings for the offender and hope they may change.

Take Action

 We need to empower people with disabilities and report abuse when we hear about it or witness it.

Report Woman Abuse