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Young persons with disabilities: Global study on ending gender-based violence, and realising sexual and reproductive health and rights

McCLOSKEY, Megan
MEYERS, Stephen
July 2018

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This study provides an analysis on the situation of young persons with disabilities concerning discrimination and gender-based violence, including the impact on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. It also provides an assessment of legal, policy and programming developments and specific good practices in service delivery as well as best-standard prevention and protection measures. Finally, policy and programming recommendations are provided to assist in greater promotion of the rights of young persons with disabilities, with a particular emphasis on preventing and responding to gender-based violence, and realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Let me decide and thrive - Global discrimination and exclusion of girls and young women with disabilities

PLAN INTERNATIONAL
December 2017

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Girls and young women with disabilities have the right to make decisions over their own bodies and live free from violence and fear. Yet, on a global level, they are the people least likely to enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Compelled by this reality, Plan International and the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have joined forces to ensure young women and girls with disabilities can exercise choice and have control over their bodies. The Let Me Decide and Thrive initiative is supported by in-depth, critical field and desk research and aims to empower girls and young women with disabilities, raise awareness of their plight among stakeholders, and work to secure their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

This research found that the barriers to SRHR confronted by girls and young women with disabilities are overwhelming: infantilisation and disempowerment; forced sterilisation, abortion, and contraception; disproportionate suffering from all forms of violence; substantial barriers in accessing justice; discriminatory attitudes, norms, and behaviours rendering them invisible; and a lack of accessible and appropriate SRHR information and services.

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.

Human rights toolkit for women and girls with disabilities. First edition.

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
October 2016

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A Toolkit for women or girls with disabilities to learn more about human rights and how this knowledge can be used to achieve change in their own lives or the lives of others. Following an introduction about why this Toolkit is needed,  a brief overview of five key human rights issues that women and girls with disability in Australia have identified as most important to them is provided. Section 3 provides information about what human rights are and also gives a brief overview about Australia’s international human rights obligations. Sections 4 and 5 focus on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), examining the main ‘Article’ from each, that deals with the important urgent issues that have been identified by women with disability in Australia, which are: Violence; Decision-Making; Participation; Sexual and Reproductive Rights; and, Employment. For each of these issues, the words of the main Article (as it appears in the CRPD and CEDAW) are provided and explained in practical terms, and examples are given of what governments have to know and do. Information from WWDA members and supporters about some of the key changes which need to happen is given. Different ideas of what women and girls with disability can do to help achieve change and promote the rights of all women and girls with disability are given and some sample letters and ‘talking points’ for phone calls to a local Member of Parliament, or a government Minister or advisers are provided.   

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

The sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls with disabilities

FROHMADER, Carolyn
ORTOLEVA, Stephanie
July 2013

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"This Briefing Paper examines the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls with disabilities in the context of the future development agenda Beyond 2014 and Post 2015"
Issues Paper
ICPD Human Rights Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health The Hague, Netherlands
7-11 July 2013

Social relationships, sexuality and reproductive rights & persons with disabilities : international workshop report

DEEPAK, Sunil
et al
March 2013

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"This report presents an analysis and an overview of main issues in relation to social relationships, sexuality and reproductive rights that emerged from the different presentations and discussions during the workshop. Most of the discussions and presentations focused on difficulties, barriers and challenges. There were a few positive examples of activities that answer those challenges and overcome those barriers. There were also some ideas of what can be or should be done in this area" “"Going beyond the taboo areas in CBR" workshop, part 1
Agra, India
29 November 2012

A deeper silence : the unheard experiences of women with disabilities : sexual and reproductive health and violence against women in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga

SPRATT, Joanna
March 2013

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"This report contains information gained in situation analyses exploring the SRH needs of women with disabilities in three Pacific Island countries: Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga. This work was carried out over a four-month period spread out between October 2010 and September 2011. UNFPA undertook these situation analyses to gain greater understanding of the opportunities and needs experiencedby women with disabilities in relation to their ability to realize their sexual and reproductive rights"

Rocking the cradle : ensuring the rights of parents with disabilities and their children

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY
2012

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"The report analyzes how U.S. disability law and policy apply to parents with disabilities in the child welfare and family law systems, and the disparate treatment of parents with disabilities and their children. Examination of the impediments prospective parents with disabilities encounter when accessing assisted reproductive technologies or adopting provides further examples of the need for comprehensive protection of these rights"

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

Sexuality education for individuals with autism spectrum disorders : critical issues and decision making guidelines

TRAVERS, Jason
TINCANI, Matt
June 2010

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"This paper presents one position in support of sexuality education for children and adolescents with ASD (autism spectrum disorders). The nature of human sexuality is discussed to provide a context for the rights of individuals with ASD to learn about their sexuality. Further justification for providing sexuality education in terms of the unique characteristics of this population is offered in conjunction with potential consequences of failing to provide sexuality education. Lastly, information regarding a decision-making process for sexuality education curriculum is presented, including the responsibilities of families and professionals providing sexuality education"
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45(2)

Keeping motherhood safe

May 2010

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This edition of Momentum contains articles on spacing births to reduce pregnancy-related complications, skilled birth attendants, medication to prevent eclampsia, supporting women's reproductive options, and vouchers for reproductive and maternity services

The reproductive rights of adolescents : a tool for health and empowerment

CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
September 2008

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This briefing paper outlines the general framework of adolescents’ reproductive and sexual rights. It addresses core concerns for adolescents rights and discusses governments’ legal duties to address those concerns. The areas of focus are sexuality education; access to confidential health care; child marriage and lack of educational opportunity; sexual violence; and female genital mutilation. The promotion of adolescent health and autonomy are considered primary goals for advocates and lawmakers

The rights to sexual and reproductive health

HUNT, Paul
BUENO DE MESQUITA, Judith
2008

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This briefing is closely based on a report made by the Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights in 2004 as part of his contribution to the tenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994. The report observes that sexual and reproductive health are among the most sensitive and controversial issues in international human rights law and are also integral elements to the right to health

The questions adolescents ask most frequently about reproductive rights and their answers

2007

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In Tanzania there are laws to protect adolescents and give them access to their rights, including reproductive rights and protection from sexual violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). This booklet provides adolescents with information on their reproductive rights to guide them towards making informed decisions about their own lives. The questions were all asked by Tanzanian adolescents and the answers include information on family planning and abortion, sexual violence in a society's culture, child sexual abuse, rape and its consequences, forced marriages and advice on what to do, and causes and effects of FGM, with guidance on how to get help. A summary of international and national legal documents referred to appears at the back

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