Violence against women and girls with disabilities
What can you do / How can you help?
There is growing awareness that girls and women with disabilities need to be better protected against violence.
Women’s counselling centres and rape crisis centres provide support and guidance for all women who have experienced violence and thus for disabled women as well.
Some specialised information centres for abused women also cater to the needs of women with various types of disabilities. Some offer advice in plain language for example. Other specialised information centres have developed prevention services or continuing education classes in cooperation with institutions for the disabled. In many cities, interdisciplinary round tables have been set up on the issue of violence against women with disabilities.
It is particularly important to raise the awareness of caregivers and supporters and at the same time strengthen the women and girls themselves so as to respond to women and girls with disabilities who experienced violence.
Prevention services for people with disabilities do not fundamentally differ from prevention services for non-disabled people. Regarding these services, disabilities and the resulting important characteristics need to be taken into consideration though.
Prevention programmes for caregivers and employees in institutions for the disabled, teachers, consultants or parents of girls and boys with disabilities should comprise the following topics for example:
- reflecting on one’s own values and prejudices with regard to people with disabilities;
- education, which promotes self-reliance and self-determination and thus reduces dependencies;
- accepting boundaries, supporting self-esteem and a positive body feeling involving the disability;
- appreciating that people with disabilities have their own sexuality;
- raising awareness of the topic of sexualised violence;
- becoming acquainted with drop-in and information centres and possibilities of support for people concerned;
- reflecting on structural conditions of violence against disabled women and girls but also boys and men.
Self-assertion and self-defence courses, which should be offered and financed throughout the country for women and girls with disabilities, are also important. During these courses, women’s and girls’ self-confidence and self-esteem are strengthened. At the same time, practical advice is provided as prevention against violence.
The bff also supports women and girls with disabilities. In this respect, the “Access for All!” project has been set up to grant better access to counselling and support for girls and women with disabilities. The aim is to provide better support and advice for the women and girls that are affected.