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Everybody Matters: Good practices for inclusion of people with disabilities in sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes

Van SLOBBE, Caroline
November 2017

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This publication provides introductory chapters from two activists who work to create better opportunities for people with disabilities in Nigeria and India. Subsequently, the challenges that organisations worldwide have encountered whilst improving the access to and knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights for people with disabilities are presented. Ways in which they managed to find solutions and the results achieved are reviewed. Some cases show the importance of a more personal approach whilst others emphasise the advantage of changing systems and policies. Different regions, types of disabilities and various SRHR-topics are reflected in these stories. All cases provide lessons learnt that contribute to a set of recommendations for improved responses. The closing chapter highlights the challenges, solutions, and ambitions that are presented and lead up to a concise overview of recommendations.  

Good practice examples include:

A shift in SRH programming (Nepal)

Breaking Barriers with performance art (Kenya)

Her Body, Her Rights (Ethiopia)

People with disabilities leading the way (Israel Family Planning Association)

Best Wishes for safe motherhood (Nepal)

It’s my body! (Bangladesh)

Calling a spade a spade (Netherlands)

Four joining forces (Colombia)

Change agents with a disability (Zimbabwe)

Tito’s privacy and rights (Argentina)

Sign language for service providers (Kenya)

Advancing the access of deafblind women and girls to sexual and reproductive health

VISUAL HEARING IMPAIRMENT MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATION (VIHEMA)
2017

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Activities to promote the access of deafblind women and girls to sexual and reproductive health are reported via brief descriptions of what happened, what changed and what worked. Activites included: training the deafblind women in their rights;training relatives of deafblind women, giving advice on general care, as well as highlighting the importance of supporting their sexual and reproductive health choices and promoting family planning; tackling the issue of the forced sterilization; awareness raising via newspapers and radio and improving livelihoods.

 

 

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.

No justice : torture, trafficking and segregation in Mexico

RODRIGUEZ, Priscila
ROSENTHAL, Eric
GUERRERO, Humberto
July 2015

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This report presents the findings of Disability Rights International (DRI)'s two-year investigation into the treatment of children and adults with mental disabilities in Mexico City which found a pattern of egregious and widespread human rights violations. The investigation found that in Mexico City having a disability can mean a life of detention and uncovered the existence of a “blacklist” of particularly abusive institutions that the Mexico City authorities are aware of – yet they permit these facilities to operate. DRI visited five of 25 facilities on the blacklist and specifically highlight the findings from Mama Rosa and Casa Esperanza, which was so abusive that DRI filed a formal complaint to DIF and sought immediate action by DIF to protect detainees. The report outlines the overall findings and how Mexico can take steps toward reform and justice calling for immediate steps to enforce the basic human rights of people with disabilities and outlines

Note: the report is available in pdf and word versions in both English and Spanish

Abuse and denial of sexual and reproductive rights of women with psychosocial disabilities in Mexico

RODRIGUEZ, Priscila
et al
February 2015

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This report presents the situation faced by women with psycho-social conditions in Mexico based on the results of a year-long study. This research included the application of a questionnaire to fifty-one women with psychosocial disabilities who were either members of the Colectivo Chuhcan or received outpatient services at four different health clinics and psychiatric institutions in Mexico City. The main finding of this report is that the Mexican government has failed to implement policies that ensure that women with psychosocial disabilities have safe access to sexual and reproductive health services, on an equal basis with others. It is recommended this research be extended to the rest of the country to gain a clearer picture on the situation of the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities at a national level

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.

Moving forward and gaining ground: the sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in Australia

FROHMADER, Carolyn
June 2012

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This paper addresses the issue of forced sterilisation and reproductive right of women and girls with disability in Australia. "It discusses some of the critical issues in the consideration of forced sterilisation as a human rights issue, and looks at some of the key strategies WWDA has employed to advance our efforts to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of disabled women and girls, on an equal basis with other women and girls"
Available in pdf, word, large print text only and powerpoint presentation formats

Sterilization of women and girls with disabilities : a briefing paper

WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES AUSTRALIA (WWDA)
et al
November 2011

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The paper gives a background to the issue of forced sterilisation, outlines various international human rights standards that prohibit forced sterilisation, and offers several recommendations for improving laws, policies, and professional guidelines governing sterilisation practices. It is useful for anyone interested in the sterilization of women and girls with disabilities

Disappearing daughters

KELLY, Annie
June 2008

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This report highlights the decline in the number of girls born and surviving in northern India compared to boys, driven by discrimination against women and the preference for sons over daughters. The problem affects all levels of society with the illegal use of ultrasound technology to detect the gender of unborn children leading to sex-selective abortions, and in poorer communities, where this technology is less available, the neglect and denial of medical care and nutrition of girl children

Sexual health for people with intellectual disability

EASTGATE, Gillian
2008

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This article explores how people with intellectual disability often experience difficulties meeting their sexual needs and desires due to poor education and social isolation. However, the article highlights that people with intellectual disability are capable of safe, constructive sexual expression and healthy relationships with appropriate education and good social support. It emphasises that providing this support is an essential part of supporting people with intellectual disability
Salud Publica Mex, 50 suppl 2

Women's empowerment in Ethiopia : new solutions to ancient problems

ALEMU, Bogalech
ASNAKE, Mengistu
September 2007

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This report focuses on a 'Women and girls empowerment' project in Ethiopia, which expands the work of an earlier project to include girls and recognises the need for early intervention. Whereas the first project focused on removing obstacles to women's basic rights - both social and economic - and promoting access to reproductive health and family planning services, freedom from sexual exploitation, violence, forced marriage and other harmful traditional practices, this second project focuses on raising awareness and education among girls and women about reproductive health and family planning, personal rights and an emphasis on education, life skills and leadership development

Engaging men and boys in changing gender-based inequity in health : evidence from programme interventions

BARKER, Gary
RICARDO, Christine
NASCIMENTO, Marcos
2007

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"This report seeks to fill a gap in the collective knowledge about engaging men and boys and to build on the three decades of experience in evaluating interventions to empower women and girls from a gender perspective....[It examines] the engagement of men and boys in programmes around sexual and reproductive health; HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; fatherhood; gender-based violence; maternal, newborn and child health; and gender socialisation"

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

17 fact sheets on gender-related aspects of HIV/AIDS | Resource pack on gender and HIV/AIDS

UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Gender and HIV/AIDS
2005

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These fact sheets aim to provide policy makers with concise information about gender related aspects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They deal with core facts and issues in thematic areas and are underpinned by an analysis which clarifies how gender issues are fuelling the crisis. Each theme presents a self-contained set of issues and recommendations and many of the themes are interlinked. All of them are connected by a concern to promote a gender-enlightened and comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS and its impacts

Discrimination against women with disabilities

BELEZA, Maria Leonor
October 2003

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This publication highlights the difficulties that women with disabilities often encounter and includes practical information on how to improve their situation. The report analyses the underlying factors of double discrimination based on gender and disability and proposes concrete actions to achieve equality. This report would be of interest to all those concerned with the fight against discrimination throughout Europe

Abstinence and delayed sexual initiation

RULAND, Claudia Daileader
September 2003

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Promoting abstinence is an important strategy that can help delay sexual activity, but complementary messages are needed for those who are sexually active. Policy-makers and adults can contribute to delaying early sexual debut in youth by making the reduction of coercive sex a priority. Abstinence messages need to be an integral part of HIV/STI/pregnancy prevention programmes worldwide. However, not all youth are sexually abstinent and a comprehensive approach is needed, with education about using condoms for protection against unwanted pregnancy and HIV/STIs, as well as reducing the number of sexual partners

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