Does Childhood Disability Increase Risk for Child Abuse and Neglect?
Leeb, Rebecca T., Bitsko, Rebecca H. Merrick, Melissa T. Armour, Brian S.
Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Vol. 5, No. 1 , p. 4-31
Taylor and Francis Group
530 Walnut Street Suite 850
Philadelphia, PA 19106
In this article we review the empirical evidence for the presumptions that children with disabilities are at increased risk for child maltreatment, and parents with disabilities are more likely to perpetrate child abuse and neglect. Challenges to the epidemiological examination of the prevalence of child maltreatment and disabilities are discussed. We conclude that the evidence for the relationship between child maltreatment victimization of children with disabilities and perpetration by caregivers with disabilities remains equivocal due to variability in research samples, key definitions, and study methodology. Future research examining the link between disability and child maltreatment would benefit from more rigorous methodology and inclusion of a theoretical framework, such as the ecological model of child maltreatment. One potential pathway from disability to child maltreatment is presented. Knowing and understanding the link between disability and child abuse and neglect is an important step toward planning targeted and appropriate prevention and intervention activities. (Author abstract)
children with disabilities; children at risk; predictor variables; risk; evaluation methods; assessment