Purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major social problem and public health issue, but we still have a relatively small amount of data about partner violence in women with disabilities. The main objective of this study was to understand the experiences of women with disabilities who are or have been abused by their partners and to explore the knowledge, views and training requirements of primary care professionals.
Method: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with women with disabilities who had experienced IPV (n = 14), and focus groups with healthcare professionals (n = 16).
Results: Women with disabilities suffer specific forms of abuse. Because they depend on the people around them to take action, they are subordinate and this can prolong the abuse. The healthcare staff frequently mentioned that it is often difficult to notice that women with disabilities are being abused. Their lack of training about disabilities and gender-based violence makes them less sure of their ability to identify and deal with any possible cases of abuse.
Conclusions: The difficulties described by the women interviewed are broadly speaking the same as those described by the healthcare professionals consulted. A number of suggestions for improvements are provided based on the results found.