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Byron Shire
October 5, 2022

People with disability twice as likely to be victims of violent crime

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A report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has found that 17 per cent of people accessing a core disability support were victims of a recorded crime in NSW between 2014-2018 – 6.5 per cent experienced a violent incident and 4.4 per cent experienced a domestic violence-related crime.

Aboriginal women with disability were found to be particularly vulnerable to violent crime with 18 per cent experiencing a violent crime during the five-year period. 

These are the key findings from the Justice Test Case of the National Disability Data Asset pilot.

Jointly led by BOCSAR and the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS), the Justice Test Case pilot used State and Commonwealth administrative data collections to identify a cohort of 2.8 million people who received a core disability support and/ or who had contact with the NSW criminal justice system as a victim or as an offender, in NSW over a 10-year period. 

People with disability were also more likely to experience revictimisation

BOCSAR found that, relative to the total NSW population, people with disability were more than twice as likely to be victims of violent and domestic violence-related crime. People with disability were also more likely to experience violent and DV-related revictimisation within 12 months compared with victims with no known disability. Generally, those with cognitive and/or psychosocial disabilities were at greater risk of revictimisation. 

The study also found that police action rates were lower for incidents involving victims with disability, especially for violent incidents. The odds of a person being proceeded against for a violent offence involving a person with disability were 17 per cent lower than for a violent incident involving a person without disability.

Police action rates were particularly low where the victim had both cognitive and physical disabilities. 

Director at BOCSAR, Dr Suzanne Poynton, said despite their considerable vulnerability, people with disability are not readily identifiable in routine justice data collections. ‘This ground-breaking study offers the first comprehensive view of victimisation and offending among people with disability in NSW.

‘Filling this significant knowledge gap is important for developing disability policy in the justice system.’


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