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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

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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. 

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

UN WOMEN
2017

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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.

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.

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

MAC-SEING, Muriel
October 2015

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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

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

WADDELL, Mary Ann
May 2015

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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

Introduction to sexuality education for individuals who are deaf-blind and significantly developmentally delayed

MOSS, Kate
BLAHA, Robbie
September 2001

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"This book is designed for parents, professionals, and other caregivers working with school-aged children who have combined vision and hearing loss or deaf-blindness coupled with significant developmental delays. It aims to provide them with special methods to familiarize children with sexual aspects of their daily life...Each chapter takes an in-depth look at a particular aspect of developing sexuality for these children: (a) developing sexuality education programs in a school system; (b) teaching appropriate touch and modesty; and (c) instruction about menstruation, masturbation, coupling, sexual health, and sexual abuse. The last chapter includes readings and resources"

Where women have no doctor : a health guide for women

BURNS, A. August
et al
1997

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Using simple language and hundreds of pictures, this book provides information on how a woman's body changes, and on monthly bleeding, and has chapters among others on health concerns of girls, mental health and violence against women

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