17 – Protecting the integrity of the person


There is a lack of national strategies which protect disabled people from violent crime; also sentencing of those that perpetrate violent acts against disabled people continues to be overly lenient. This of particular concern because disabled people are more likely to be victims of violent crime. The Violent Crime and Sexual Offences Survey 2011/12 showed that disabled people (11.3%) had a higher probability of being a victim than others.[1] The Crime survey for England and Wales 2009/10 shows that (when taking into account differences such as older age profiles), that disabled people and adults with a long-standing illness were more likely to be a victim of violence than those without (11.3% compared with 7.3%).[2]

Disabled people continue to be abused, tortured and murdered as the case studies in the EHRC’s Hidden from Plain Sight report and newspaper reports reveal.[3] As many as 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability have been a victim of hate crime and bullying.[4] Research has shown that up to 70% of women and 32% of men with learning disabilities experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives[5] and a report by the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate examined 151 cases of rape and found that mental health and learning difficulties were ‘frequently identified vulnerabilities’, yet there is little in the way of national strategies to prevent this.[6] More than half of disabled people say they have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment (56%). While half of disabled people say they experience discrimination on either a daily or weekly basis.[7]

A recent report on physical restraint in hospital settings in England reveals there were at least 13 restraint-related deaths of disabled people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. Eight of these occurred in a single year (2011). In 2013 restraint was used over 3,000 times resulting in almost 1,000 incidents of physical injury.[8]The report also highlights an unaccounted for variation in the use of physical restraint across England. In a single year, one trust reported 38 incidents while another reported over 3,000 incidents.

People with learning disabilities are five times as likely as other prisoners to have been subjected to control and restraint techniques and three times more likely to have spent time in segregation on in prison.[9]

[1] http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_298904.pdf

[2] http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_298904.pdf

[3] http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/documents/disabilityfi/ehrc_hidden_in_plain_sight_3.pdf




[4] http://www.mencap.org.uk/campaigns/take-action/stand-me/real-life-stories



http://www.stamp-it-out.co.uk/docs/_permdocs/gettingawaywithmurder.pdf http://www.mencap.org.uk/campaigns/take-action/stand-me


[5] Cambridge, P., Beadle-Brown, J. Milne, A. Mansell, J. and Whelton B. (2011) ‘Patterns of Risk in

Adult Protection Referrals for Sexual Abuse and People with Intellectual Disability’, Journal of

Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities 2011, 24, 118–132


[6] http://thewomensresourcecentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Appendix-36_General-Recommendation-18_Disabled-women_FINAL2.pdf

[7] http://www.comres.co.uk/poll/8/scope-discrimination-survey-15-may-2011.htm

[8] http://www.mind.org.uk/media/197120/physical_restraint_final_web_version.pdf

[9] http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/ProjectsResearch/Mentalhealth/TroubledInside/Bradleyreviewcallsfornewapproachtooffenders