Women with a disability are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse as those without a disability.  Disability can include physical and learning disabilities as well as mental health issues, sensory impairment, age and illness.

People with disabilities who are being abused may experience the following.

Personal care may be withheld if the abuser is also a carer - for example refusing to provide assistance to use the toilet as a way of controlling the victim.

Financial abuse – the abuser may use their status as carer to spend their partner’s money inappropriately and/or without their consent.

Emotional abuse – the abuser may tell their partner that no one else will love them or that if they leave they will have to go into a care home. The abuser may use children as a hold over the victim – telling them that their children will be taken away if they report the abuse because they will not be able to look after them on their own.

Sexual abuse – the abuser may sexually assault or rape their partner who may not physically be able to stop them or understand what is happening to them.

The Care Act 2014 came into effect on 1 April 2015.  The Act defines an Adult at Risk as someone who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

An adult at risk may therefore be a person who:

  • is frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment;
  • has a learning disability;
  • has a physical disability and/or a sensory impairment;
  • has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder;
  • has a long-term illness/condition;
  • misuses substances or alcohol;
  • is a carer such as a family member/friend who may be at risk because of their caring role;
  • is unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a relevant decision and is in need of care and support.

Getting Help

Outreach support is available to women with disabilities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

  • If you live in Cambridge City, South Cambs or East Cambs call 01223 361214
  • If you live in Fenland, Huntingdonshire or Peterborough call 07787 255821


If you are concerned that any vulnerable adult is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect please contact:

Cambridgeshire: Tel: 0345 045 5202 or visit the website here

Peterborough: 01733 747474 or visit the website here


Adults with Learning Disabilities
An Easy Read booklet is available to download below



Carers can also be victims of domestic abuse – this could be a long-standing situation or as a result of behaviour changes in their partner due to illness or disability.

Carers may also be a vulnerable adult or adult at risk of abuse or neglect in their own right. This is a complex area but professional support is available.



Don't Put Up With It.  Domestic Violence And Women With Learning Disabilities.