Search Our Site

We have 3,681,285 registered online learners.
1,261 new learners so far today.

Sexual abuse of disabled adults in the UK

schedule 3rd January 2016 by Alex Bateman in Safeguarding

Sexual abuse of disabled adults in the UK

New research has shown the magnitude of sexual abuse against disabled adults in the UK.

Thousands of disabled adults in the UK have experienced sexual abuse, according to worrying new figures.

The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme stated that over the past two years, there have been 4,748 reports of sexual abuse against adults with disabilities.

The NSPCC stated that these incidences make up ?the visible peak? of a much larger underlying issue.

The programme sent Freedom of Information requests to 152 councils in England that have adult social services responsibilities. They asked how many reports of sexual abuse against disabled clients had been reported during the years 2013-14 and 2014-15, up to February 16th 2015.

Analysis of the data sent by 106 of the 152 councils revealed that 63 per cent of the cases reported were against people with learning disabilities. The remaining 37 per cent of incidences were against those with physical disabilities.

John Brown, head of sexual abuse programmes at the NSPCC, warned: “We know with sexual abuse that many victims find it difficult to speak out.?

Although the figures did not relate to child victims of such abuse, he added: “We know from research that disabled children and young people are three or four times more likely to be abused and neglected than children and young people who are not disabled.

“Abusers are often very adept at identifying vulnerabilities. And, importantly, we know that it’s less likely for children and young people to be believed as well.”

CEO of charity Respond, Noelle Blackman, told the BBC she had seen ?some horrendous cases? during her time in the job.
“Certainly from the age of 13,” she added, “but sometimes younger”.

She continued: “What we’re really noticing at the moment is young people being abused by other young people.”

Ms Blackman added that often the perpetrators themselves do not have a learning disability, and commonly there will be a gang of boys who do not have a disability grooming girls who do. She described this as ?a worrying trend?.


Alex Bateman - Virtual College

Author: Alex Bateman

Alex is interested in the strategic application of learning and development. In particular how organisations can promote engagement with ongoing learning campaigns. He spends his spare time renovating his Victorian house. Ask him about his floors, I dare you.

ISO 9001:2015
Crown Commercial Service Supplier
LPI Accredited Learning Technologies Provider


+44 (0)1943 605 976

Virtual College

Marsel House


West Yorkshire

LS29 8DD

Awards for footer
Gold and silver award winners at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 - including gold for excellence in the design of learning content.


We are in the process of moving to one Virtual College website. If you want to go back to a course, or start a course, bought from our old website then you may need to login to our original learning management system. Otherwise, please proceed to our new learning management system to return to your training.


You are already logged in. Click the button below to be taken to your LMS dashboard. Alternatively, click logout to leave the system.