Catholic Social Services Australia says the “link between disability and becoming a victim of violence” is confirmed by a major new report by the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
The report, released earlier this week, found people with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.
It also found disabled victims of violence are about 17 per cent less likely to see their cases proceed either to court or see an outcome outside court.
CSSA executive director Monique Earsman said the shocking figures confirm what many people working in the sector have always believed.
“The link between disability and becoming a victim of violence has always been an issue of concern for our sector,” Ms Earsman said.
“This report is a call to action to provide greater assistance and support to people living with disabilities who become caught up in the justice system.
“What is clear is that people living with disabilities need more support during the prosecution process than other people, and it seems like they are not getting it. It is also clear that the police may require additional support during their investigations,” she said.
The study, the first of its kind, links data from NSW and Commonwealth disability services with crime data to identify the disability status of individuals who came into contact with the criminal justice system between 2014 and 2018, either as victims or perpetrators.