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Sexual Abuse of Persons with Disabilities - Research

Rob Aley
et al
November 2016

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The aim of the research was to investigate the social, cultural and institutional factors which contribute to the high incidence of sexual abuse of persons with disabilities in East Africa and to identify interventions which could change detrimental attitudes, beliefs and practices which perpetuate this high incidence. The research is framed within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), particularly articles 12, 13 and 16.

The study used a qualitative participatory action research approach and worked with local partner organisations and Ugandan and Kenyan field level researchers to collect data. Survivors of sexual abuse were not interviewed but instead the research investigated the understandings, beliefs and practices of a range of service providers and key responders who are involved in the prevention of and response to sexual abuse against persons with disabilities in their communities. Groups consulted included police, teachers, health-care workers, government administrators, faith and community organisations and traditional leaders, as well as persons with disabilities and their parents. Participatory workshops were run with a reference group of people with disabilities (with a range of impairments and experiences) and relevant specialists at the initial stage and during the participatory analysis process. After initial orientation and training the field researchers undertook a total of 52 individual interviews and 9 focus group discussions with a range of stakeholders.

The overall findings show that social attitudes and understanding of disability and sexuality in general are strong influencing factors on the risks that persons with disability face in relation to sexual abuse. Participants reported a range of harmful attitudes and beliefs about disability and about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities. It is very common for cases of abuse to go unreported and to be dealt with at the family or community level, rather than being viewed as a serious criminal matter which should be taken to the formal authorities. Many barriers exist, especially at community level which mean abuse does not get reported. Lack of awareness and knowledge, stigma and exclusion and poverty were key drivers of continuing abuse and survivors of abuse seldom get proper support. Guidelines, training and clear procedures for good practice in the various professions were generally weak or absent. Key recommendations were generated for both community level interventions and in relation to policy and training at regional and national levels. The practical implementation of some recommendations was undertaken.

Sexual Abuse of Persons with Disabilities - Research

ALEY, Rob
et al
November 2016

Expand view

Abstract
The aim of the research was to investigate the social, cultural and institutional factors which contribute to the high incidence of sexual abuse of persons with disabilities in East Africa and to identify interventions which could change detrimental attitudes, beliefs and practices which perpetuate this high incidence. The research is framed within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), particularly articles 12, 13 and 16.

The study used a qualitative participatory action research approach and worked with local partner organisations and Ugandan and Kenyan field level researchers to collect data. Survivors of sexual abuse were not interviewed but instead the research investigated the understandings, beliefs and practices of a range of service providers and key responders who are involved in the prevention of and response to sexual abuse against persons with disabilities in their communities. Groups consulted included police, teachers, health-care workers, government administrators, faith and community organisations and traditional leaders, as well as persons with disabilities and their parents. Participatory workshops were run with a reference group of people with disabilities (with a range of impairments and experiences) and relevant specialists at the initial stage and during the participatory analysis process. After initial orientation and training the field researchers undertook a total of 52 individual interviews and 9 focus group discussions with a range of stakeholders.

The overall findings show that social attitudes and understanding of disability and sexuality in general are strong influencing factors on the risks that persons with disability face in relation to sexual abuse. Participants reported a range of harmful attitudes and beliefs about disability and about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities. It is very common for cases of abuse to go unreported and to be dealt with at the family or community level, rather than being viewed as a serious criminal matter which should be taken to the formal authorities. Many barriers exist, especially at community level which mean abuse does not get reported. Lack of awareness and knowledge, stigma and exclusion and poverty were key drivers of continuing abuse and survivors of abuse seldom get proper support. Guidelines, training and clear procedures for good practice in the various professions were generally weak or absent. Key recommendations were generated for both community level interventions and in relation to policy and training at regional and national levels. The practical implementation of some recommendations was undertaken.

The African report on violence against children

THE AFRICAN CHILD POLICY FORUM (ACPF)
September 2014

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This report reveals that Africa’s children are still subjected to levels of physical and emotional violence despite more than a decade of efforts by governments. The report “constitutes the most comprehensive study to date of the phenomenon in Africa and lays down the priorities for action at various levels that will be required to achieve better protection of children.  The report’s findings are principally informed by large scale surveys undertaken in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and a review of more than 75 studies and reports. It reveals that a distinctive range of social, cultural and economic factors can combine to increase the risk of African children facing increased levels of physical and emotional violence in domestic settings, at schools, in institutions and in the workplace. These risks may be exacerbated in times of political upheaval and conflict, and girls are particularly vulnerable”

Violence free zone : end school-related violence, prevent HIV/AIDS

SALTER, Nick
SCHECHTMAN, Lisa
September 2007

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The objective of this call to action is to review the extent to which national education plans, the Fast Track Initiative, donor countries, and established international NGOs recognise and comprehensively combat school-related violence (SRV) in a review of 10 African countries. The brief contains five main sections and two Appendices. It outlines the details and consequences of school-related violence; and the major findings and broader trends from the country review process; it focuses on a discussion of models and programs employed to effectively counter SRV and highlights overall best practices; it reviews and critiques donor governments and international agencies in relation to their work on SRV; and it outlines the recommendations and call to action for going to scale with programmes to counter SRV

Realising rights for children : good practice. Eastern and Southern Africa

AFRICAN CHILD POLICY FORUM
2007

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"This report looks at different practices across six countries in East and Southern Africa. The countries represent different legal systems, including one country undergoing post-conflict reconstruction, and highlight good practices, their impacts, key actors and lessons learnt. It aims to offer models for comparison and possible replication to other countries in the region and beyond." Issues include: child law reform; making primary education compulsory and freely available to all; promoting adoption and alternative care; the need for separate courts for children; diversion from the criminal justice system; and the judicial role in the implementation of children's rights. However, while it examines some examples of good practice in the region, it is not intended as a comprehensive or exhaustive review of practices in the region. The report is designed for use by governments, non-governmental organisations and other interested actors in the field of children’s rights to help inform implementation of the CRC in their own countries"

Tell me more : children's rights and sexuality in the context of HIV/AIDS in Africa

THOMSEN, Sarah C
2007

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This report explores the strategies that children have developed for dealing with sexuality and relationships in the face of HIV and AIDS; and provides stakeholders with a coherent rights and youth-oriented knowledge base for the development of a sexual and reproductive health agenda for advocacy. It gives an overview of sexual rights with a focus on children’s rights, including their access to sexual and reproductive health information, as endorsed by relevant international conventions and policies. It also looks at the concept of sexuality and the sexual development of children. The report includes a summary of children’s reflections on issues of sexuality and their coping mechanisms for preventing the transmission of HIV and AIDS. Based on these findings, the report makes recommendations for effective responses that would support children’s existing coping mechanisms and enhance their ability to protect themselves

State of the world's children 2004 : ­girls, education and development

BELLAMY, Carol
2003

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This year's report focuses on girls' education and its implica- tions for development. It presents the many benefits of educat- ing girls, examines the barriers that keep more girls out of school and the lasting impact such exclusion has on a country's development, details why education is the most effective means of combating many of the most profound challenges to human development and presents concrete and practical recommendations for the way forward

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