Violence Prevention Strategies for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Scoping Review

Tal Araten-Bergman, Christine Bigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Violence and abuse against people with intellectual disabilities are internationally recognised as a pervasive social problem. Recent years have seen the development and implementation of preventative strategies, yet only few of them have been rigorously evaluated. The present paper aims to identify preventative abuse strategies for people with intellectual disabilities and explore the evidence about their quality and effectiveness. A scoping review method was implemented, and a comprehensive search of 14 online databases identified six peer-reviewed articles, published between January 2007 and June 2019, that reported on evaluation of violence prevention strategies designed for adults with intellectual disabilities. Each program and its evaluation were critically and systematically reviewed. Overall, the analysis reveals the strategies’ core elements, and highlights strengths and gaps in delivery and evaluation. More rigorous evaluation is required to establish the effectiveness of violence prevention strategies and to advance evidence-based practice in this field. IMPLICATIONS The social work profession has a critical role in the development, implementation, and evaluation of violence prevention strategies for adults with intellectual disabilities. Design of violence prevention strategies needs to be multifaceted, and embedded within the social and cultural environments of people with intellectual disabilities. Violence prevention strategies need to evolve from focusing solely on risk reduction to a broader approach encompassing the safety of adults with intellectual disabilities as part of their human rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Social Work
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Australian Association of Social Workers.


  • Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Strategy Evaluation
  • Violence Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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