#MacroSW Chat 10/26/2017: Disabled Women & Domestic Violence

Some rights reserved by Pat Hayes

“My partner doesn’t hit me, but he pushes my wheelchair out of my reach when we argue.  Having my wheelchair out of my reach hinders me from getting away when he gets in my face and screams at me.”

“My partner has prevented me from working since we’ve moved in together.  She controls all of the money and I don’t have the ability to save for anything.  I have become completely financially dependent on her and I don’t know what to do.”

Chat archive available!

One of the underreported issues facing disabled women is domestic violence.  Disabled women are 40% at a greater risk of experiencing domestic violence than non-disabled women, according to the American Psychological Association.  Disabled women endure terrors that non-disabled women do not, some of which relates to their disability status.  Some of these distinctions include:  

  • Removing or destroying a person’s mobility devices (e.g., wheelchairs, scooters, walkers).
  • Denying access to and/or taking prescribed medication from someone.
  • Forcing someone to lie in soiled undergarments.
  • Preventing access to food.
  • Denying access to disability-related resources in the community and/or to health care appointments.

The fictional scenarios provided at the beginning of this post illustrates how domestic violence can exist differently between disabled women and non-disabled women.  As social workers, it is imperative for us to understand how violence is shaped due to disability, and to be culturally competent in our ability to address, advocate, and provide resources and supports to this community.  

During the Twitter chat, we will learn more about how domestic violence impacts disabled women, what we can do as a profession to address this matter, and what resources are available.  

To learn more about the connection between domestic violence and disabled women, review the following articles and statistics:  

Domestic Violence & Disabled Women:  The Silent Epidemic

Cycles Are Hard to Break:  Disability and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and disabled women:  an abuse of power

Abuse of Women with Disabilities

Violence Against Women with Disabilities

Making the Links:  Domestic Violence and Disabled Women, Final Report

Our #MacroSW Partner facilitating the chat is Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson).

Questions we’ll be discussing during the chat:

Q1:  Are you familiar with how domestic violence can manifest differently for disabled women than non-disabled women?  #MacroSW

Q2:  Is your work/agency competent in addressing the specific obstacles disabled women endure during domestic violence situations?  #MacroSW

Q3:  Is your agency accessible to the needs of disabled women seeking support and safety?  #MacroSW  

Q4:  What can our profession do to address how disability and domestic violence are connected?  #MacroSW

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