Cambodia: Report on Violence against Women With Disabilities
Friday, February 15, 2013 2:10 PM

A recent study conducted by Australian AID indicates that women with disabilities are more likely to be subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse than women without disabilities.   The study included questionnaires and mental health analyses that focused on an individual’s socio-demographic position, financial autonomy, and reproductive health.  Additionally, the study sought information regarding an individual’s experience with intimate partner violence and family violence, and subsequently sought to ascertain the likelihood that those subjected to violence would disclose the occurrence and seek help. 

The results demonstrated that women with disabilities were just as likely as women without disabilities to be subjected to physical violence by intimate partners, however, they were 4.2 times more likely to experience psychological abuse.  Further, women with disabilities were more likely than women without disabilities to experience family abuse—52.5% reported emotional abuse, 25.4% reported physical violence, and 5.7% reported sexual violence.  Women with disabilities were less likely to report incidents of domestic violence and seek help, and consequently experienced high levels of psychological and emotional distress.
The study calls for legislation that is specifically designed to address the problem of gender and disability based violence, which, in large part, requires that women with disabilities have a voice in policy development.  Moreover, sex and reproductive education, as well as health care services, must become more accessible and appropriately attuned to the experiences of women with disabilities.  Finally, outreach programs must focus on nullifying community stigmas and cultural norms that continue to tolerate violence against women.  
Compiled from: Astbury, Jill, and Walji, Fareen, Triple Jeopardy: Gender-based violence and human rights violations experienced by women with disabilities in Cambodia, AusAID Research (January 2013).