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Exploring the Needs of Male Survivors with Disabilities

Much of the attention that has been paid to abuse of people with disabilities has focused on women, as the limited research that exists demonstrates the high rates of abuse they experience. Emerging research also suggests that men with disabilities experience high rates of violence. In October 2014, the Center on Victimization and Safety partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women to explore the needs of male survivors with disabilities and begin to determine the best ways to meet their needs. We will conduct an exploratory analysis to better understand the unique experiences and unmet needs of male survivors with disabilities and to identify implications for practitioners and policymakers.

In June of 2015, we convened a preliminary roundtable of experts from across the country–self-advocates, survivors, and practitioners–to begin this important discussion. Additionally, our research will include: a scan of the available literature and practice materials; and additional interviews of key stakeholders. Ultimately, we will produce a policy and practice brief highlighting the needs of male survivors with disabilities, and providing recommendations to address these needs. Additionally, we will develop a training on male survivors with disabilities for staff of disability, domestic violence, and rape crisis centers.

Why This Work Matters

It has only been in the past 15 years that the fields of disability, domestic violence, and sexual violence have begun to recognize the prominent role violence plays in the lives of people with disabilities and the role each field must play to ensure safe and accessible services for survivors with disabilities. While impactful, these efforts have focused primarily on women with disabilities who have experienced violence. Emerging research, however, has demonstrated that men with disabilities experience domestic and sexual violence at rates higher than their counterparts–both males and females without disabilities. Similar to men without disabilities, we hypothesize that male with disabilities have unique needs currently unmet by victim service providers and the criminal justice system. By understanding the unique needs of male survivors with disabilities, we will be better equipped to work on increasing the field’s capacity to address the needs of male survivors with disabilities.