Protecting disabled children
Research shows disabled children are at increased risk of abuse
Disabled children are three times more likely to experience abuse than other children, but do not always get the protection they need. This is because:
- There is a reluctance to believe that disabled children are abused
- Those around the child may assume that behaviour indicating possible abuse is linked with the child's impairment
- Disabled children may lack awareness and vocabulary about abuse and find it difficult to seek help
- Those around the child may not always recognise or respond effectively to child protection concerns
Disabled children have an equal right to protection from abuse. Positive action can help reduce the risk and improve their protection. Parents, carers and professionals all have an important role to play.
What we are doing
The NSPCC have established disabled young ambassadors who contribute to our understanding of the issues.
An evaluation of the 'Safe: Personal safety skills for deaf children' programme will also be conducted. The programme teaches deaf children how to keep themselves safe and how to seek help when they need to do so.
We want to further develop and test this programme for deaf children and for other groups of disabled children.
Research into the experiences of deaf and disabled young people of the child protection system will be commissioned. This will help us better understand the barriers in the child protection system and how it can be improved.
We are working in collaboration with a number of stakeholders through the NSPCC and Council for Disabled Children jointly chaired National Working Group on Child Protection and Disability.
The way forward
The NSPCC will continue to learn more about the risk of abuse to disabled children and how to protect them better. We will continue to work with stakeholders to raise awareness, reduce risk and improve protection.
Personal safety skills training and safe and accessible services will be promoted so that children and their families get the right support.
The NSPCC will develop a range of materials that will support parents, carers and professionals in recognising and responding to deaf and disabled children's safeguarding needs.
Every disabled child has a right to be safe. We want to do as much as we can to protect disabled children from harm.
Are you a child?
Do you need to talk? Call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit us online.
Worried about a child?
Don’t wait until you’re certain. Contact our trained helpline counsellors for 24/7 help, advice and support.