People with intellectual and physical disabilities are more vulnerable to violence and abusive situations, says a P.E.I. community development organization, and it wants to know the extent of the problem.

Survey online or by phone

Cooper Institute

(902) 894-4573

The Cooper Institute has launched two online surveys to find out how to better help those who've been abused.

"It's important if we want to address abuse, stop it from happening, and make sure that people get the help they need when it has happened," said project coordinator Ann Wheatley.

"This is about people feeling safe and being safe so they can participate in the life of their community."

The surveys will explore what programs, supports and services should be put in place to improve the safety of people with disabilities.

The surveys follow three focus groups held last fall where about 15 Islanders shared their stories of financial, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Those people suggested needing advocates - independent people or organizations they could turn to for help - and better access to information and counselling.

Islanders can fill out the surveys anonymously. They can also be done by phone.