Sexual abuse of disabled common in India, says study

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 25, 2013 21:59 hrs

New Delhi: The disabled in India are subjected to widespread discrimination and inhuman treatment, particularly sexual abuse and torture, a European Union-sponsored study conducted by rights organisations said Monday.

Shackling mentally ill patients and sexual abuse were some of the forms of inhuman treatment meted out to disabled in India, which has 21 million disabled people, it said.

According to the 2011 census, the disabled comprise 2.1 percent of the population.

Discrimination against the disabled is aggravated by the lack of special help centres at police stations and courts and lack of counselling centres, the study said.

The two-year study and research was conducted by London-based NGO Equal Rights Trust along with Human Rights Law Network, a socio-legal information centre that focuses on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of people with disabilities.

"Research has revealed patterns of widespread torture and inhuman treatment against people with disabilities throughout India," a release issued by Equal Rights Trust said.

Women with disabilities were more vulnerable to rape and other sexual violence and these were occurring in every setting whether at home, school or healthcare facility, it said, asserting that "the government has a responsibility to protect all people".

Oliver Lewis of Equal Rights Trust said the finding provided an insight into cases of sexual abuse and inhumane treatment of disabled people in India.

Seema Baquer of Human Rights Law Network said law enforcement agencies should be made more accountable and they should be granted no legal impunity in such cases.

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