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Disabled Kids 4 Times More Likely to Suffer Violence: Study
Date:7/11/2012

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- One in four children with disabilities experiences some form of violence during their lifetime, a new study has found.

In the report, published online July 11 in The Lancet, researchers from the United Kingdom said that the risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect for these children is nearly four times greater than for children who are not disabled.

"The impact of a child's disability on their quality of life is very much dependent on the way other individuals treat them," one of the study authors, Mark Bellis of Liverpool John Moores University in England, said in a journal news release.

"This research establishes that the risk of violence to children with disabilities is routinely three to four times higher than that of nondisabled children. It is the duty of government and civil society to ensure that such victimization is exposed and prevented," Bellis added.

For the study, the investigators examined 17 previous studies involving more than 18,000 children from the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Israel. Most of the children were between the ages of 2 and 18 years.

The analysis revealed that nearly 27 percent of the children with disabilities had suffered some form of violence, including physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect. The study authors noted that lifetime levels of physical violence and sexual violence were high (20 percent and 14 percent, respectively).

The researchers also estimated that children with disabilities are at least three times more likely to be exposed to physical violence and nearly three times more likely to be exposed to sexual violence compared to children without disabilities.

Kids with mental or intellectual deficits are at greater risk for sexual abuse than children with other types of disabilities or no disabilities at all, the authors noted. However, there wasn
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