Disability Cornwall believes it is everyone's responsibility to protect the most vulnerable within our society. We all have the right to be safe from harm and should be able to live free from fear of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
There are a variety of ways in which a person can be abused, whether physically, psychologically, financially, sexually or by being neglected, and every day there are people who witness this and say or do nothing.
Our Disability Information and Advice Line (DIAL) service can support people via the telephone who are being subjected to abuse or discrimination via to know their rights and maintain their dignity, respect and independence. We cannot take on individual cases but can ensure the person concerned knows what support is available to them.
Disability Cornwall is aware there is a lack of awareness surrounding the issue of abuse of disabled people. We are responsive to the needs of our members, staff and trustees and will, when appropriate and with consent, assist anyone through an issue of potential abuse by holding a well-being review. This acts as a platform to assess the situation and to gain an individuals viewpoint of how they want to proceed. We believe it is crucial that anyone at risk is able to access the support they need in order to prevent abuse at any level.
In order to ensure strategic mechanisms are in place, Disability Cornwall has accepted a seat on the Local Authority Safeguarding Adults Board. The board are responsible for protecting vulnerable adults from abuse, reducing the risk of abuse, and supporting people to stop abuse where it happens.
Members of the Safeguarding Adults Board are from a wide range of organisations, including charities, NHS, local government, and the Police.
Women facing domestic violence
Women who have a disability are twice as likely to experience domestic violence as non-disabled women.
They are also likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time and to suffer more severe injuries as a result of the abuse.
A woman who has a disability may be more vulnerable to abuse and could suffer abuse from her carer or her personal assistant (PA) but may be reliant on that same person for personal care and / or mobility. Women with disabilities can be subjected to physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse in the same way non-disabled women are abused, but when a woman has a disability, abusers may use additional forms of abuse, such as:
If you or a woman with a disability you know is experiencing abuse The Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre offers a range of free safe support and advocacy.
Rape & Sexual Abuse Helpline: 01208 77099 Mon – Thurs 10am – 1pm &
Domestic Violence Support Network: 01208 79992 Mon 7.30pm – 10pm
Disability Cornwall is a member of the Safe Places Scheme. We will help any person deal with a distressing incident that may take place while they are out and about in the community, such as bullying, harassment or being unsure of how to deal with a situation, by providing a safe place they can come to, to talk to one of our advisers and receive support.
> Please see the sub navigation of Staying Safe on the left to view the Safe Places lists in their respective areas.
It is plainly evident that some disabled people are victims of discrimination, abuse or harassment purely because they have a disability. The Crown Prosecution defines a disability hate crime as a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's disability or perceived disability.
If necessary, DIAL will report any incident of disability hate crime to the police on behalf of a third person, or anonymously, if requested and support that individual accordingly.
Devon & Cornwall Police: 101
Crime Stoppers: 0800 555 111
Victim Support: 08450 567999
Safer Cornwall: 0300 123 4100