Intersectionality and Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse: IPV and People with Disabilities

Living reference work entry


The prevalence of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial, of women and men with disabilities is higher than those without disabilities, and people with disabilities tend to be in abusive relationships for longer and have fewer options for leaving the abuser. Abused people with disabilities also experience other forms of oppression and marginalization (due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other identities) and can thus experience institutional and structural discrimination based on these intersecting identities, which then inhibits people from turning to formal service providers for assistance. Abused people with disabilities have been considered one of the “underserved populations” in research and funding, and traditional service delivery methods have been generally ineffective for this population.

In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of the topic of abuse of persons with disabilities, with particular attention to persons experiencing additional intersecting oppressions based on marginalized identities. The authors describe unique dynamics of abuse for this population, including risk and resilience factors, and review the state of the research literature and prevention and intervention strategies that have been focused on this population. The authors justify the need for culturally responsive, trauma-informed, intersectional approaches and provide examples of how this framework operates in practice. A case is presented and discussed to illustrate the obstacles faced when abused persons with disabilities seek services as well as the resilience they demonstrate. The chapter concludes with micro/mezzo/macro level recommendations for practitioners, advocates, and researchers/scholars.


Disabilities Underserved populations Intersectionality Trauma-informed Cultural responsivity Brain injury Abuse Practitioners 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.BASW Program, Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyCamdenUSA
  3. 3.University Health Services, SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault, Advising, Resources and Education), McCosh Health CenterPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Glenna Tinney
    • 1
  • Shelly M. Wagers
    • 2
  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 3
  1. 1.ConsultantAlexandriaUSA
  2. 2.College of Arts and Sciences - Society, Culture, and LanguageUniversity of South Florida - St. PetersburgSt. PetersburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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