Resources search

Women and young persons with disabilities: Guidelines for providing rights-based and gender-responsive services to address gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights

HOLOBOFF RADFORD, Anastasia
et al
November 2018

Expand view

This publications aims to provide practical and concrete guidelines for making Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services more inclusive of and accessible to women and young persons with disabilities and for targeting interventions to meet their disability-specific needs.
 
Critical services for all victims and survivors of GBV include health services (e.g. first-line support, sexual assault examination and care, mental health assessment and care), justice and policing services (e.g. assessment and investigation, perpetrator accountability and reparations, safety and protection, justice sector coordination), social services (e.g. crisis counselling; help lines; legal and rights information, advice, and representation; psychosocial support and counselling), and coordination at both the national and local level.

 

Fundamental SRHR services for women and young persons—with and without disabilities— include comprehensive sexuality education; information, goods, and services for the full range of modern contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception; maternal/newborn healthcare (including antenatal care, skilled attendance at delivery, emergency obstetric care, post-partum care, and newborn care); prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for sexual and reproductive health issues (e.g. sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, syphilis, and HPV, cancers of the reproductive system and breast cancer, and infertility); safe and accessible abortion, where it is not against the law; and post-abortion care to treat complications from unsafe abortion.

 

While the primary audience of these Guidelines is GBV and SRHR service providers and support staff, these Guidelines are also intended as a valuable resource for all stakeholders—including those in government, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations—involved in designing, developing, implementing, or advocating for GBV or SRHR services for women and young persons with disabilities. 

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

PLAN INTERNATIONAL
December 2017

Expand view

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.

Sexual assault advice - Booklet for Kenya

ALEY, Rob Aley - Advantage Africa
et al
November 2017

Expand view

This simple guide has been written to support victims of
sexual abuse and their families in Kenya to know their rights and
to understand what services are available to them. The
booklet is also a useful source of summary information for
duty bearers in the community (e.g. village elders, faith
groups, Assistant Chiefs and CBOs) as well as formal
service providers such as hospitals and the police.

Spotlight on Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls - UN WOMEN 2017

UN WOMEN
2017

Expand view

Spotlights are made on areas of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and specific targets and indicators are given. The spotlights are on intimate partner violence, harmful practices (including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM)), unpaid care and domestic work, women in leadership, sexual and reproductive health and the gender data gap. Data gaps are identified and a five year programme is outlined, Making Every Women and Girl Count, which is designed to provide technical and financial support to countries to improve the production and use of gender statistics in order to monitor the implementation of gender equality commitments in the 2030 Agenda.

Tackling sexual abuse of people with disabilities - report. What to do in the case of rape or sexual assault (A guide for vctims, their families and friends) - booklet

ADVANTAGE AFRICA
KIBWEZI DISABLED PERSONS ORGANISATION (KDPO)
INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION OF APPLIED DISABILITY RESEARCH (FIRAH)
November 2016

Expand view

"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 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". Powerpoint slides of the research findings and posters are also available.

 

The booklet is a simple guide written to support victims of sexual abuse and their families to know their rights and to understand what services are available to them. 

Sexual Abuse of Persons with Disabilities - Research

Rob Aley
et al
November 2016

Expand view

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.

Sexual violence against women with disabilities in Ghana: Accounts of women with disabilities from Ashanti Region

OPOKU, Maxwell Peprah
et al
2016

Expand view

This exploratory study aimed to document the causes and consequences of sexual violence against women with disabilities in Mampong Municipality of Ashanti region in Ghana. The 41 participants, made up of women living with intellectual, visual and hearing disabilities, were interviewed using convenience and snowball sampling techniques

Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development (formerly Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal) Vol. 27, No.2, 2016

Women and girls with disabilities. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. General comment No. 3 (2016). Article 6.

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
September 2016

Expand view

"International and national laws and policies on disability have historically neglected aspects related to women and girls with disabilities. In turn, laws and policies addressing women have traditionally ignored disability". "Article 6 serves as an interpretation tool to approach the responsibilities of States parties across the Convention, to promote, protect and fulfil the human rights of women and girls with disabilities, from a human rights-based approach and a development perspective". These general comments take the form of an introduction, normative content, states parties’ obligations, the interrelationship of article 6 with other articles of the Convention (perspectives of women with disabilities in CRPD provisions) and national implementation

Protect us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection

Hannah Kuper
Morgon Banks
Susan Kelly
Nambusi Kyegombe
Karen Devries
June 2016

Expand view

Children with disabilities experience very high levels of violence, according to this research from Plan International and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The new study carried out in Uganda and Malawi provides valuable insights into the lives of children with disabilities. Key findings include: 

- Girls and boys with disabilities experience extremely high levels of violence: 84% of children with disabilities surveyed reported having experienced some form of violence at school in the previous week.
- Girls with disabilities were more likely to report emotional and sexual violence than girls without disabilities.
- Children with disabilities find it difficult to access community-based child protection mechanisms, due to a range of barriers including environmental barriers, social barriers and institutional barriers.

This extremely important piece of research shows that if we don’t explicitly include, we exclude. In line with the aspiration of the Sustainable Development Goals to “leave no one behind” and with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we therefore call upon Plan International and all other development actors to work together to stop the widespread violence against boys and girls with disabilities, and take concrete steps to include them in child protection mechanisms.

Access to HIV and AIDS care: persons with disabilities still left behind

MAC-SEING, Muriel
October 2015

Expand view

This article presents disability-inclusive good practices, policy and program related opportunities. It highlights a series of facts and figures related to people with disabilities and HIV infection and the interaction between HIV and disability.  The article goes on to outline Handicap International’s proposal to “remove HIV-related barriers for persons with disabilities” in a two-track approach that includes decision makers, service providers, and service users. Finally, the article shares discussions of successful inclusive practices involving HIV and persons with disabilities in various communities around the world and the key challenges and opportunities to include disability into HIV and AIDS

No justice : torture, trafficking and segregation in Mexico

RODRIGUEZ, Priscila
ROSENTHAL, Eric
GUERRERO, Humberto
July 2015

Expand view

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

Contextual factors around the sexual abuse of people with disability in East Africa

WADDELL, Mary Ann
May 2015

Expand view

This literature review on the issue of sexual violence against people in East Africa aims to identify applied research. It contains a synthesis of the knowledge contained in the best selected research, reading notes and an annotated bibliography. The synthesis provides an objective summary of the of the state of the knowledge concerning the sexual abuse of people with disabilities in East Africa

 

Note: report is available in both word and pdf formats from links above

Disabled children and disabling childhoods in the global South

BURMAN, Erica
GREENSTEIN, Anat
KUMAR, Manasi
Eds
2015

Expand view

This resource provides a link to the articles of the Disability and the Global South journal’s Special Issue on disabled children within the Global South. This special issue features a variety of topics such as rehabilitation, inclusion, child sexual abuse, and the disabling effects of education systems within the Global South

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), Vol 2, Issue 2

Through our eyes

HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL
November 2014

Expand view

This video was made with children from Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya in 2014, in the context of a child participation activity within the “Ubuntu Care project: confronting sexual violence against children with disabilities in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya”, implemented by the NGO Handicap International and its partners. The initiative brought disabled children together to start discussing their experiences and the cameras became an outlet for the children and members of the community to share their stories and raise awareness about important issues about confronting sexual violence against children with disabilities

Note: dialogue is in French with an option for English subtitles

“We can also change” Piloting participatory research with persons with disabilities and older people in Bangladesh

BURNS, Danny
OSWALD, Katy
November 2014

Expand view

Sightsavers, HelpAge International, ADD International and Alzheimer’s Disease International worked together with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to bring the perspectives of those who live in poverty or who are highly marginalised into post-2015 policy making. The aim of the research was to understand better the experiences of social, political and economic exclusion of persons with disabilities and older people in Bangladesh from their own perspectives. Two groups (community and NGO) of peer researchers collected 70 stories from poor and/or excluded persons with disabilities and older people from each of the two sites: Bhashantek, an urban slum in Dhaka; and Cox’s Bazar, a rural area in southeast Bangladesh. From the stories collected and analysed in workshops, the peer researchers identified 13 priority areas that affect persons with disabilities and older people: accidents and disasters; livelihoods; access to education; medical treatment; family support; exclusion and mistreatment; superstition; access to services; mobility; marriage; land; rape and sexual abuse; the role of grassroots community-based organisations. Recommendations from the researchers are made in each area. The peer research programme was evaluated and guidelines for its use are provided.

Preventing gender-based violence : getting it right

BUSCHER, Dale
February 2014

Expand view

This article looks at key factors in the prevention of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in disaster, conflict and resettlement situations, recognising the need for better understanding and investigation into why known strategies are unevenly implemented. These factors include the importance of key interventions during the first days and weeks; socio-cultural norms and legal and policy frameworks; the lack of basic needs and lack of economic, educational and social opportunities; and engaging men and boys. The article concludes by suggesting that a more collective, cross-sectoral approach, reinforced with accountability systems, is required for overall progress in GBV prevention

Humanitarian Exchange Magazine, Issue 60

 

Project : access to support services and protection for disabled women who have experienced violence : results and recommendations

SHAH, Sonali
BALDERSTON, Susie
WOODIN, Sarah
2014

Expand view

This brochure provides important information and guidance for service providers and policy makers to ensure disabled/Deaf women who are affected by violence can access appropriate support and protection when needed. The brochure includes recommendations for women’s support services, disabled people’s organisations and policy makers, based on a comparative project. It also lists contact information of various women’s, disability, and women’s disability groups in the UK

Triple jeopardy : gender-based violence and human rights violations experienced by women with disabilities in Cambodia

ASTBURY, Jil
WALJI, Fareen
January 2013

Expand view

This paper presents the findings of a "participatory research project, developed collaboratively between Australian and Cambodian partners, (that) investigated prevalence and experiences of gender-based violence of women with disabilities in comparison to women without disabilities; assessed the extent to which existing policies and programs include or address women with disabilities; and explored how women with disabilities are supported or denied access to existing programs"
AusAID Research Working Paper 1

Pages

E-bulletin

Source e-bulletin on Disability and Inclusion

Subscribe to updates