Persons of any age with physical or intellectual disabilities are at increased risk of abuse. Dependence on a caregiver can make it more difficult for a disabled person to escape or report abuse. The way in which society views and therefore treats persons with disabilities limits them in many ways. For example, persons with disabilities are often treated as children, lacking intelligence; they may be trained to be compliant and are sometimes punished for assertiveness or for challenging authority figures. Persons with disabilities, especially women, may not have the tools to enable them to distinguish between abusive behaviour and normal or necessary forms of touching.
Abuse of persons with disabilities can take on the forms of physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, financial abuse and/or neglect.