Helping Women and Children break the cycle of domestic violence...


1800 656 463

If you need an interpreter call TTY
1800 671 442

If anyone is in physical danger or about to be harmed, call the POLICE on 000 immediately!

They usually have to depend on one or more people to look after their basic needs. Their “family” will often include neighbours, care-givers and friends. They can end up having a lot of different people closely and intimately involved with them.

If they live in an institution or if they are profoundly disabled, they are even more vulnerable because they are less able to do something about it, like communicate the problem to someone who can help, or get away.

Social factors are another big issue.

  • Disabled people are often treated as stupid and child-like. They aren’t listened to properly.
  • They may have been told to be compliant for a long time, and find it hard to speak up and rock the boat.
  • Women with disabilities may be considered to be non-sexual, so they’re not given sex education. They may not understand what is healthy touching and what is not.
  • Police and others may believe they’re incompetent witnesses in the legal processes.
  • And a lot of the time, they’re just not believed.
    • Abuse can include:  

      • Hitting, punching, choking, kicking, pushing, burning with lit cigarettes.
      • Threats, such as threatening physical harm or threatening to have the woman institutionalised.
      • Threats against the woman’s children, pets or guide dog.
      • Verbal abuse such as criticisms, putdowns and insults.
      • Taking control of the woman’s disability aids against her wishes, such as moving her wheelchair around.
      • Damaging or threatening to damage belongings, including disability aids.
      • Neglect, such as refusing to wash or feed the woman or to hand over medications.
      • Performing care in cruel ways, such as washing her in cold water.
      • Refusing to offer help until the woman consents to sex.
      • Unwanted sexual advances, ranging from unwanted touching to rape.
      • Withholding information.
      • Making decisions on the woman’s behalf without her consent.
      • Taking control of the woman’s finances without her consent, including withholding money or not allowing her to shop for herself.
      • Isolating the woman from family, friends and services
        • It can be much harder for a disabled woman to leave an abusive situation.  Not only is her confidence and self-esteem eroded by the abuse, just like an able woman, but her sense of powerlessness can be much greater because she’s also disabled.

          It can be hard to speak up or do something about the abuse because of

          • Shame.
          • Belief that she somehow deserves to be abused.
          • Belief that she is being abused because she is disabled.
          • Not knowing that she has any rights or that there are laws to protect her.
          • Not realising that the treatment she receives is abusive, because she has been treated this way her whole life.
          • Staying where she is and enduring the abuse may seem like a slightly better option than poverty, homelessness or institutionalisation.
          • Prior bad experiences with authorities
          • Isolation - for example, the abuser may not allow her to use the phone or leave the house.
          • Lack of access to information
          • Fear that no one will believe her.
          • Fear that no one will be able to help her.
          • Fear of being punished by the abuser for reporting the violence.
          • Fear of being shamed, punished or shunned by her family, friends and community.
          • Fear of loss - for example, she may be afraid of losing her home or having her children taken away from her.
          • Fear of being institutionalised.
          • Fear of having no one to help her if she leaves the relationship.
          • She may find it very difficult to communicate her problem because of her disabilities. She may know that there’s a possibility she won’t be believed.
            • Helping someone with a disability and domestic violence.
              If you know someone with a disability, listen to them. Take them seriously. Ask them if they’re being looked after and if they’re happy with the various carers and people in their lives. If they’re not, see if you can gently encourage them to open up to you. If not, speak to the one or more of the agencies below and tell them you have concerns. Ask for in independent outreach worker to call out.

              CALL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE ON 1800 65 64 63 TTY 1800 671 442.
              Ask for a Domestic Violence Outreach Worker who can come to you
              and will know what to look for and take you seriously.

              If you’re disabled and being abused you can contact the following organisations.

              • Tell your doctor
              • Call the police on 000

                • The Central Coast Disability Network advocates for Central Coast residents with a disability. They can help with information, referrals, telephone s
                  • The Domestic Violence Resource Centre has a website designed especially for people with disabilities who are experience domestic violence. They have guides in other languages as well.   You'll find lots of information on the DVRC Website:
                  • Domestic Violence 24-hr Line on 1800 65 64 63 or TTY: 1800 671 442. They can make referrals for you. Tell them you need a domestic violence outreach worker to come to you.
                  • LifeLine Telephone counselling (general) Ph 131 114
                  • CCDVCAS Central Coast Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service can help you with referrals to support services and help you through the legal and court processes of securing protection. Ph (02) 4321 0099
                  • You can also ask someone you trust to get a Domestic Violence Outreach Worker to come to you.
                  • National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1800 880 052 The Hotline is open 8am to 8pm across Australia, seven days a week. ( TTY:1800 301 130, National Relay Service: 1800 555 677 , Translation and Interpreter Service: 131 450). This is an Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disabilities using government-funded services. Allegations are referred to the appropriate authority for investigation.
                  • The Disability Complaints Service is a non-government organisation which provides a free service to help people with a disability who wish to make a complaint about their rights being infringed. You can phone the Disability Complaints Service on (02) 9319 6549 or 1800 424 007 (free call outside Sydney) or TTY (02) 9318 2138.
                  • The Community Services Commission aims to promote and protect the interests, needs and rights of consumers of community services and ensure they know how to act on their rights. The Commission offers many services including reviewing the situation of a person with a disability in full-time, out-of-home care and also reviewing the deaths of people with a disability in government and non-government disability accommodation and respite services. In December 2002, the Commission was merged with the NSW Ombudmsan. On the NSW Ombudsman website you can lodge an online complaints form or find out more information. You can call the NSW Ombudsman office on (02) 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524 (toll free) or TTY (02) 9264 8050. You can email
                    • There are some wonderful resources for domestic violence and intellectual disabilities at