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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

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.

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

Cross-generational and transactional sexual relations in sub-Saharan Africa : prevalance of behaviour and implications for negotiating safer sexual practices

LUKE, Nancy
KURZ, Kathleen
September 2002

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This paper is a literature and evidence survey of cross-generational and transactional sex in Africa. It examines the age and economic asymmetries in sexual relationships in an African context, prevalence of cross-generational and transactional sexual relationships, adolescent girls' and men's motivations and adolescent girls' negotiating power in relationships. It comes to the conclusion that adolescent girls have power when negotiating the start and end of relationships and they are strongly motivated to enter into cross-generational relationships for the material benefits and status that they bring. However, once they have entered the relaltionship the balance of power shifts to the man, especially in the context of gift-giving.
The paper also examines the evidence around cultural acceptance of cross-generational and transactional sexual relationships, violence and rape within the relationships, multiple relationships, and outcome of the relationships. The authors' recommendations are to: gather policy support for changing the social norm; mount programmatic responses; conduct research to investigate the success of programmatic responses, document the policy process, and fill other important information gaps

Promotion of sexual health : recommendations for action

PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION (PAHO)
2000

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Establishes definitions of terms such as 'sex' and 'sexuality', and discusses basic concepts, concerns and problems related to promoting sexual health. Presents and discusses five basic goals, or broad recommendations for action, to advance the sexual health of people in the Americas.

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