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Children with disabilities in situations of armed conflict - a discussion paper

THOMAS, Edward
et al
November 2018

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During armed conflict, children with disabilities are caught in a vicious cycle of violence, social polarization, deteriorating services and deepening poverty. Global estimates suggest there are between 93 million and 150 million children with disabilities under the age of 15.Given that disability is often not reported due to stigma there is reason to believe actual prevalence could be much higher. Although efforts to ensure the fulfilment of their rights have improved, girls and boys with disabilities continue to remain among the most marginalized and excluded segment of the population. This is amplified during situations of armed conflict. The barriers to full participation they face on a day-to-day basis are intensified and compounded when infrastructure is destroyed, and services and systems are compromised and made inaccessible. This results in the further exclusion and marginalization of children with disabilities, and prevents them from accessing schooling, health and psychosocial support, or a means of escape from conflict.

 

When systems and services break down, children are also left more susceptible to violence. Injuries sustained by many children during armed conflict may also lead to long-term impairments. There are six grave violations of children’s rights and protection in armed conflict that are on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) Security Council; killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children, rape or other sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. Governments around the world have committed themselves to respect, promote, and fulfil the rights of children with disabilities, including in situations of armed conflict, and progress is being made. Efforts by a broad range of actors to implement the CRPD, CRC and other human rights instruments include the development of standards to address the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian crises, and guidance on making humanitarian response, development and peacebuilding more inclusive. Efforts to improve the collection and use of data concerning children and adults with disabilities are also underway. Yet, as this discussion paper makes clear, much more needs to be done. Investments in disability-inclusive humanitarian action and recovery from crises will pay off, contributing towards a dividend of peace built on greater equality, tolerance and justice. 

The wellbeing of children with developmental delay in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam: An analysis of data from UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys

EMERSON, Eric
SAVAGE, Amber
LLEWELLYN, Gwynnyth
December 2016

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This report, produced by the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDRP),
uses data collected in rounds four and five of UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys programme (MICS) to describe the wellbeing of young children with and without developmental delay in six Asian countries. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were used as a framework for identifying indicators of child wellbeing.

The report, authored by CDRP Disability and Inequity Stream Leader Professor Eric Emerson with Dr Amber Savage of the Family and Disability Studies Initiative, University of Alberta, Canada and CDRP Director Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, found that children with Developmental Delay in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam are more likely than their peers to:
• Be living in poverty (SDG1). In five out the six countries children with developmental delay were more likely to be living in poverty than their peers
• Experience hunger (SDG2). In all six countries children with developmental delay were more likely to have experienced persistent severe hunger than their peers
• Suffer poor health (SDG3). On three indicators (poor peer relationships, diarrhoea and fever) children with developmental delay were more likely to have poor health than their peers. On three indicators (obesity, aggression and acute respiratory infections) there was no systematic difference between children with and without developmental delay.
• Experience barriers to quality education (SDG4). On all four indicators (attendance at early childhood education centre, family support for learning, access to learning materials in the home, maternal level of education) children with developmental delay were more disadvantaged than their peers.
• Experience barriers to clean water and sanitation (SDG6). On two indicators (improved sanitation, place to wash hands) children with developmental delay were more disadvantaged than their peers. On one indicator (improved drinking water) there was no systematic difference between children with and without developmental delay.

The authors noted that “Since the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1998, increased attention has been paid to monitoring the well-being of children. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and UNCRC both contain explicit provisions regarding the rights of children with disabilities. These impose obligations on governments to act to ensure that children with disabilities enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other children. In order to promote the visibility of children with disabilities, enable better policy, and monitor progress, disaggregation of data related to children’s well-being on the basis of disability is needed."

Guidelines for Consulting with Children & Young People with Disabilities

PLAN INTERNATIONAL
December 2016

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What is this document?

This document provides a guidance on the importance of consulting with children with disabilities. It provides practical suggestions for consulting with children and young people with disabilities in a variety of situations. It aims to equip individuals working on child rights with the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate with children with a variety of disabilities.

This document sets out tips and suggestions for the entire consultation process including: planning for the consultation, general considerations for consulting with children with disabilities, specific tips for communicating with children with different types of impairments, and some case study examples. 

Who is this document for?

This document is a guide for Plan and partner staff on how to work with children to ensure that children with disabilities are consulted with and heard in Plan programmes. This could include:

• Field staff

• Researchers and consultants

• Community leaders and members

• Government officials

• Facilitators and trainers

• School teachers

• Plan National Office and Country Office staff

These guidelines can be used in all contexts including at a national policy level, in communities, during development projects and in humanitarian settings.

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

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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.

Education for all? This is still not a reality for most children with disabilities

HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL
2015

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This advocacy briefing paper presents key information about the inclusion of children with disabilities in the education system. It highlights key facts, gaps in the provision of an equitable education system, the benefits of inclusive education and legal policy and frameworks. It outlines practical steps can be taken by education actors at different levels and suggests ways to measure progress

 

Advocacy briefing paper

Post school transition : the experiences of students with disability

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITY AUSTRALIA (CDA)
December 2015

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The transition from school is an important period. All young people should be supported throughout this time to access options which allow them to meaningfully participate and contribute to our society as adults. Many young people with disability however have extremely poor post school transition experiences.

This report is based on the direct experience of young people with disability. The paper highlights key issues from current research, legislation and consultations with key stakeholders. It explores present and past school transition practices, barriers faced by students with disability and presents recommendations for improving outcomes and options for post school transition of students with disability

The African report on children with disabilities : promising starts and persisting challenges

THE AFRICAN CHILD POLICY FORUM (ACPF)
December 2014

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This pan-African report describes and analyses the cultural, social, physical and other societal barriers preventing children with disabilities in Africa from realising their full human potential. It also describes the opportunities, initiatives and good practices that exist, that indicate the progress, albeit insufficient, that has been made towards realising the rights for children with disabilities in Africa. Recommendations and priorities for action are presented which promote inclusive and accessible laws, policies, and programmes for children with disabilities throughout Africa. The report is based on extensive research and evidence generated by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and other institutions

Communiqué : breaking barriers, carving the world ahead

SYMPOSIUM ON CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN AFRICA
December 2014

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In this short communiqué written on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the symposium participants renew their commitment to improving the wellbeing and inclusion of children with disabilities in Africa. The symposium acknowledges the steps taken by many African governments e.g. ratification of CRPD, but highlights the shortfalls and challenges that remain, calling on governments to take certain concrete measures to protect the rights of children with disabilities

Symposium on Children with Disabilities in Africa

2-3 December 2014

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Policy brief : children with disabilities in Africa

THE AFRICAN CHILD POLICY FORUM (ACPF)
December 2014

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The African Child Policy Forum carried out research into the situation of children with disabilities in Africa, measured against a rights-based framework, and consolidated this research in "The African Report on Children with Disabilities: promising starts and persisting challenges." This policy brief sets out the results of this report with the aim to highlight the steps legally required to be taken by African governments, show the common gaps, document good practice and provide direction on priority actions

Human Rights

www.macao-tz.org
December 2014

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Malezi AIDS Care Awareness Organization (MACAO) is a non-profit organization reaching out to neglected Indigenous people in Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region of Northern Tanzania.  Macao founded in 2003, Macao is a humanitarian organization that provides assistance to approximately 200,000 Indigenous Maasai community in Ngorongoro district for addressing needs of water and sanitation, food security, health Care Research, Education, Research environment, Maasai Traditional Research, Human Rights and sustainable economic development by strengthening their livelihoods.  In addition to responding to major relief situations, MACAO focuses on long-term community development through over 4 Area Development Project. We welcome the donors and volunteers to join us in this programs, we are wolking in ruro villages.

Changing attitudes to child disability in Africa

THE LANCET
December 2014

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This brief editorial published in the Lancet highlights the situation of disabled children in Africa with reference to the 2014 publication of The African Report on Children with Disabilities by The African Child Policy Forum

 

The Lancet, Vol 384, No. 9959

Strengthening participation of children and young people with disability in advocacy

SIMMONS, Dr. Catharine
ROBINSON, Dr. Sally
October 2014

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Participation by children and young people in advocacy and change-making can not only improve and foster positive change in their own lives, but also influence the lives of others. When young people’s participation is supported, meaningful and engaged, multiple benefits accrue; their perspectives and experiences bring a unique contribution and can result in rights-based empowerment, enacted citizenship and improved relationships. This has the potential to shape policy, to increase the relevance and responsiveness of organisations they use, and to influence change in their communities in positive ways

 

However, there are significant issues and a range of barriers that discourage, prevent or actively exclude children and young people with disability from participating. A culture of low expectations, social and cultural barriers, relationship and identity difficulties and practical hurdles exist for many young people. As a result, many are precluded from participation, particularly around change-making activities

 

This paper examines how meaningful participation of children and young people with disability in advocacy and change-making can be strengthened. In the paper CDA calls for the promotion of children and young people’s participation as active and valued community members

 

This paper is also available at https://www.cyda.org.au/cda-issue-papers

 

Issue Papers

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”

HRW says disabled children in Russia face violence, isolation, neglect

PODELCO, Grant
September 2014

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This article reports on the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which documents how children with disabilities in Russian orphanages face abuse, neglect and isolation.  The report found that nearly 30 percent of all Russian children with disabilities are removed from their parents and live in state orphanages, where they face neglect and sometimes violence. The report recommendations push for the government and other actors to protect children in institutions from abuse and neglect, better support families raising children with disabilities, and move toward ending institutionalisation of children with disabilities. This article presents seven photo slides, a case study, the key findings and recommendations of the report, an interview with the author and a link to the related HRW video

Abandoned by the state : violence, neglect, and isolation for children with disabilities in Russian orphanages

MAZZARINO, Andrea
September 2014

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This report presents the situation of violence, neglect, and isolation for children with disabilities in Russian orphanages.  The report is based on visits by Human Rights Watch researchers to 10 orphanages in 6 regions of Russia, as well as on more than 200 interviews with parents, children, and young people currently and formerly living in institutions in these regions in addition to 2 other regions of Russia. It finds that many children and young people with disabilities who have lived in state orphanages suffered serious abuse and neglect on the part of institution staff that impedes their development. The report presents the background of the current situation and its detailed findings. and makes recommendations to key Russian stakeholders to ensure protection of the rights of children with disabilities in Russia and to comply with its international human rights obligations

Note: Easy read version is available from the web link

Belonging and connection of school students with disability

ROBINSON, Dr. Sally
TRUSCOTT, Julia
February 2014

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All students want to feel like they belong and that they are valued in their school community. School is a centrally important place to young people — not only where they learn fundamental academic knowledge, but also where skills in making and keeping friends, relating to peers, and social justice principles are learnt and practiced. What happens when young people feel like they don’t belong?

 

This paper examines a series of key issues about belonging and connection for students with disability and demonstrates research that shows:

• Feeling a sense of belonging and connection makes a positive difference to school life

There are a number of key elements to belonging and connection — friendship, peer acceptance, capability, being valued and supportive relationships with key adults

• When belonging and connection are threatened, there are several areas in which the impact is seen. The friendships of students are limited; they are lonely; the places they can go within the school are controlled; there are tensions in negotiating support relationships; students feel and are excluded; and kid’s strengths aren’t seen by other students or adults in their school communities

• Bullying is a particularly strong threat to a felt sense of belonging and connection

 

The paper is also available at https://www.cyda.org.au/cda-issue-papers

 

Issue Papers

The state of the world's children 2014 in numbers : every child counts

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF)
January 2014

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This report highlights the critical role data and monitoring play in realising children’s rights. It presents an updated compendium of statistics and data (which has been produced thirty years after the initial report) relating to the position of children throughout the world but particularly within the Global South. The data indicators cover a vast range: from demography, health and education, to rate of progression, child mortality, and disparities by household wealth. It emphasises that credible data, disseminated effectively and used correctly, make change possible to target interventions that help right the wrong of exclusion by identifying needs, supporting advocacy, gauging progress and holding duty bearers to account

Inclusion in education : towards equality for students with disability

COLOGON, Kathy
2013

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All children in Australia have the right to an inclusive education. However, there are many barriers to the realisation of this right in the lived experience of children and families. Current efforts towards upholding the rights of all children are impeded by a lack of understanding of inclusive education and misappropriation of the term. Additional barriers include negative and discriminatory attitudes and practices, lack of support to facilitate inclusive education, and inadequate education and professional development for teachers and other professionals. Critical to addressing all of these barriers is recognising and disestablishing ableism in Australia.

This paper draws from recent research in addressing gaps in current understanding to provide a firm basis from which to inform research based policy development. Taking a rights-based approach, the paper focuses on developing a clear understanding of inclusive education and identifying strategies to enhance the education of all children in Australia

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