Action for Blind People said today that blind and partially sighted people were four times more likely to be physically abused each day than sighted people.
A survey by the charity found that 60% of visually impaired people had historically experienced physical or verbal abuse, compared to half of sighted people. It polled around 200 visually impaired people and almost 2,000 sighted people.
In 54% of incidents, visually impaired respondents did not know their abuser. A significant number felt that their physical appearance, as a blind or partially sighted person, made them more likely to be a victim of the abuse.
Stephen Remington, chief executive of Action, said: “Unfortunately visually impaired people can be seen as vulnerable and an easy target for anti-social behaviour.”
However, only 4% of those who have been abused actually reported the incidents to the police, less than half the reporting rate for sighted people.
While similar proportions of visually impaired (29%) and sighted (28%) people did not tell anyone, 31% of the visually impaired group did not think they would be taken seriously, compared to 17% of the sighted group.
Action for Blind People called for more awareness training in schools and with employers to educate people about visual impairments.