Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 243–259 | Cite as

Patterns of sexual abuse and assault

  • Dick Sobsey
  • Tanis Doe


Patterns of sexual abuse and sexual assault are analyzed from 162 reports involving victims with disabilities. Results suggest that abuse and assault are frequently repeated and chronic, often result in significant harm to the victim, and are rarely reported to child welfare or law enforcement authorities. Many offenses are committed by paid service providers and occur in disability service settings, but other offenses occur in the same situations as sexual abuse and assault of victims without disabilities. Victims are predominantly female and offenders are predominantly male. Charges and convictions are rare. Victims with disabilities often experience difficulty obtaining treatment services that are accessible and appropriate to their needs. Discussion considers a multifactorial, ecological model of abuse and recommends some possible prevention strategies.

Key words

Child sexual abuse sexual assault disabilities 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dick Sobsey
    • 1
  • Tanis Doe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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