New report about violence on women with disabilities – #IncludeNews October 2023

Overview of news, reports, policies relevant to people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Europe.

New report about violence on women with disabilities - #IncludeNews October 2023

#IncludeNews brings you updates about work done for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe. This post is updated during the month.

Previously on #IncludeNews: September 2023.


Violence against women with disabilities report by Council of Europe

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has approved a report on Preventing and combating violence against women with disabilities.

Inclusion Europe contributed to the report with information about violence against women with intellectual disabilities. The report quotes Helen Portal’s contribution:

  • “when society views and treats a person as a person of lesser value, or unequally, the barriers that protect that person from psychological, physical or sexual abuse are reduced.”
  • She presented three categories of violence that women with disabilities can experience: direct violence, when there is an intention to hurt someone; negligent attitude when a person is hurt because they depend on another person who does not care about them; and structural violence when a person is hurt by a system, rules or societal structure.
  • She also pointed out that few women with intellectual disabilities speak out about violence because they are afraid of not being believed, of losing care or of being injured. They may also be afraid of the person who committed the violence, or afraid of having to change their environment or institution. They may fear reprisals. Building trust is crucial.

In a resolution on the subject, the Parliamentary Assembly calls on the countries that are part of the Council of Europe to (excerpts):

  • ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (see below);
  • prohibit forced sterilisations and forced abortions and ensure that those who have suffered violence of this type receive compensation;
  • implement the UN CRPD and continue the process of deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities, or initiate it if this has not yet been done;
  • provide health care professionals and social workers with training on the rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of women with disabilities, in all their diversity;
  • step up monitoring of institutions for persons with disabilities by independent bodies, and ensure the protection of staff members in such institutions who report cases of violence;
  • provide information on sexual and reproductive rights in accessible formats;
  • provide inclusive and accessible information on assistance and support services for survivors of violence;
  • provide training on disability mainstreaming and inclusion for staff working in specialist services for survivors of gender-based violence, and ensure that these facilities, as well as helplines, are accessible;
  • provide training for the police, prosecutors and judges on the specific features of disability and on international standards on the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, and ensure that communication tools geared to persons with disabilities are made available;
  • provide financial support to non-governmental organisations working to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities, prevent and combat gender-based violence and support survivors.
  • national parliaments to ensure that their structures and proceedings are accessible to persons with disabilities, if this is not already the case, and on political parties to encourage the participation of women with disabilities in political life.


EU joins Istanbul Convention

Istanbul Convention is an agreement to stop violence against women.

The European Union joins the Istanbul Convention on 1 October 2023.

Violence against women is a big problem in Europe.


Australia: Big report about violence

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability published its final report.

“There are around 4.4 million people with disability in Australia, or 18 per cent of the total population.

  • “Across all age groups, people with disability experience considerably higher rates of violence than people without disability. People with disability also experience violence more frequently. This is unacceptable.
  • “Rates of violence are particularly high for:
    • women with psychological or intellectual disability;
    • First Nations women with disability;
    • young women with disability.
  • “Neglect of people with disability occurs in multiple forms and across different stages of their lives. We heard of many instances of people being deprived of necessities of life and assistance with daily activities. We also heard of systemic failures to provide an environment for each person to maximise their potential.
  • “The data on exploitation of people with disability is limited. However, people with disability shared with us experiences of both sexual and financial exploitation by other individuals”

Also, there is this TV report about abuse of people with disabilities by service providers in Australia.


European Parliament resolution on people with autism

The European Parliament approved a resolution on the rights of people with autism. Read more about it from Autism Europe.


50th anniversary of Dincat, Spain

Dincat, our member in Spain, celebrates their 50th anniversary this month. Congratulations on all your work and achievements!


Right to vote for adults under guardianship in Luxembourg

The law of June 29, 2023 amends the electoral law of February 18, 2003. It introduces the right to vote in municipal, legislative and European elections for adults under guardianship. An automatic excuse mechanism is provided for.Luxembourg law will comply with Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDPH): States Parties must ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy and exercise their political rights on an equal basis with others.


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