Almost 5,000 disabled adults have been sexually abused in England in the past two years, figures have shown.
The NSPCC said information from 106 councils showing 4,748 reports of sex abuse against disabled adults was the “visible peak” of what could be a bigger problem.
People with learning difficulties were the victims of almost two-thirds of reported incidents, the BBC found through freedom of information requests.
Jon Brown, the lead figure on tackling sexual abuse for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said that while the figures focused on adults, disabled young people could also be victims.
“We know with sexual abuse that many victims find it difficult to speak out,” he told the BBC.
“We know from research that disabled children and young people are three or four times more likely to be abused and neglected than children and young people who are not disabled.