Online Program

Abuse of college students with disabilities

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Patricia A. Findley, DrPH, MSW, School of Social Work, Rutgers,The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Sara-Beth Plummer, PhD, MSW, Walden University, Phoenixville, PA
While studies suggest that the rate of abuse of individuals with disabilities is similar or higher compared to the general population, there continues to be a lack of attention to this issue. Individuals with disabilities are at particularly high risk for abuse, both through typical forms of violence (physical, sexual, emotional) and those that target one's disability. To explore this issue further an exploratory cross sectional study was conducted to learn prevalence of abuse among university students who have identified as having a disability. Experiences of abuse were measured through the use of the Abuse Assessment Screen- Disability (AAS-D) scale. Students were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual, psychological, and disability related abuse within the last year Over the 113 students responding, 86% identified as single, Caucasian (69%), and were either a junior or senior in college (57%). Seventy-five percent of the students considered themselves permanently disabled. Within the last year 8% of participants reported they had been hit, slapped, shoved or otherwise physically hurt, whereas 36% reported being abused as a child. Twenty-five percent sought help following physical abuse as adults. Whether the student lived at home or on campus did not impact rate of abuse as a college student. The findings suggest that individuals with visual and hearing impairments are at higher risk for abuse compared to those with learning and mobility related disabilities. Authors will discuss implications these results have for individuals with disabilities and programs on college campuses.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Name the types of violence and abuse an individual with a disability may experience Identify potential perpetrators of abuse in a child with a disability's world

Keyword(s): Disability, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years of clinical experience in working with people with disabilities. I have managed programs to serve individuals with disabilities. I am on faculty now at a university and have been there for 10 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.