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The Royal Commission into the treatment of Australians living with disabilities has underscored the considerable exposure to violence and harm in this population. Yet, little is known about exposure to violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disabilities. The objective of this paper was to examine the prevalence, disability correlates and aspects of violence and threats reported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disabilities.
Data from the 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey were used to measure physical violence, violent threats and disability. Multivariable logistic and ordinal logistic regression models adjusted for complex survey design were used to examine the association between measures of disability and exposure to violence and violent threats.
In 2014–15, 17% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 with disability experienced an instance of physical violence compared with 13% of those with no disability. Approximately 22% of those with a profound or severe disability reported experiencing the threat of physical violence. Presence of a disability was associated with an increase in exposure to physical violence, violence with harm, more frequent experience of violence and exposure to violent threats. Severity of disability, higher numbers of disabling conditions as well as specific disability types (e.g., psychological or intellectual) were associated with increased odds of both physical violence and threats beyond this level. Removal from family was strongly associated with experiences of physical violence and violent threats. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, regardless of disability status, were more likely to report partner or family violence, whereas men were more likely to report violence from other known individuals.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are at heightened risk of physical violence and threats compared to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without disability, with increased exposure for people with multiple, severe or specific disabilities.