A study has revealed some shocking statistics of violence against disabled children.
Researchers at John Moores University in Liverpool looked at data from 17 studies from around the world and found that physical and sexual violence against disabled children was particularly common.
The findings - based on information on 18,000 children aged two and above from Britain, America, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Israel - have been published in the Lancet.
Lead author Prof Mark Bellis said that the research showed that the 'impact of a child's disability on their quality of life is very much dependent on the way other individuals treat them':
"This research establishes that the risk of violence to children with disabilities is routinely three to four times higher than that of non-disabled children," he said, "It is the duty of government and civil society to ensure that such victimisation is exposed and prevented."
In Britain, where one in 20 children has a moderate or severe disability, it has been claimed that around a quarter have been attacked physically or sexually, abused emotionally or neglected.
The Telegraph reports that the study comes in the wake of some high profile cases where families with disabled youngsters have been attacked and persecuted - sometimes leading to death.
Last year the police were criticised after Fiona Pilkington, 38, and her disabled 18-year-old daughter, Francecca Hardwick died when Ms Pilkington set fire to their car in October 2007 after suffering abuse for 10 years from local youngsters - despite having complained to the police 33 times.
The Telegraph says a Freedom of Information request last year revealed that disability hate crimes have doubled since the financial crisis began in 2008, with some commentators blaming the Government for scrapping certain benefits.
"Children with disabilities can end up being the targets of violence for the same reasons as all children, but several factors can increase their risk," Prof Bellis said, "They may be picked on because someone considers them different or does not understand their disability."
How shameful is this!