For a study, researchers sought to determine whether people with disabilities who had a history of interpersonal violence prior to becoming pregnant were more likely than other people to experience interpersonal violence during the perinatal period. They also sought to compare the risk of interpersonal violence experienced by pregnant and postpartum people with physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and those without disabilities with that of people without disabilities.
Everyone born in Ontario, Canada, between 2004 and 2019, who was between the ages of 15 and 49, was included in the population-based study. There were 1,594,441 people without impairments in comparison to individuals with physical (n=147,414), sensory (n=47,459), intellectual or developmental (n=2,557), or multiple disabilities (n=9,598). The result was an emergency room visit, hospital stay, or death connected to physical, sexual, or psychological abuse between conception and 365 days after delivery. To account for social and physical baseline variables, relative risks (RRs) were modified. The combined effects of disability and prior history of violence during pregnancy were used to assess the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI); RERI>0 showed a positive interaction.
Perinatal interpersonal violence was more prevalent in people with physical (0.8%), sensory (0.7%), intellectual or developmental (5.3%), or multiple disabilities (1.8%) impairments than in those without disabilities (0.5%). The adjusted RR for people with physical impairments was 1.40 (95% CI 1.31-1.50), for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities it was 2.39 (95% CI 1.98-2.88), and for people with multiple disabilities, it was 1.96 (95% CI 1.66-2.30). A positive interaction between a handicap and a history of violence was found for prenatal interpersonal violence (adjusted RERI 0.87; 95% CI 0.47-1.29).
Among people with pre-existing impairments, particularly those who had a history of interpersonal violence, the perinatal period was a period of relatively high risk for interpersonal violence.