REPORT: Violence Against Disabled Children

Posted on 8 March 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Children, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Reports, Resources, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UNICEF has released a summary report entitled, “Violence Against Disabled Children” (PDF format 245 Kb), with the subtitle “UN Secretary Generals Report on Violence against Children, Thematic Group on Violence against Disabled Children, Findings and Recommendations.”

The first half of this report, released in July 2005, summarizes what is known about violence toward children with disabilities at home, in schools, in institutions, in the criminal justice system, within the broader community, and at work (in child labor situations). Children with disabilities are known to be at higher risk for abuse, partly because they may be perceived as “easy victims.” Also, abuse toward disabled children is less likely to be investigated or persecuted, which means abusers know it is easier to escape consequences even if the abuse is discovered.

Many children, with or without disabilities, may face adults who fail to listen or to believe them when they try to report abuse. But children with disabilities face additional barriers. As one example, some adults may mistakenly assume that a child with intellectual disabilities or psycho-social disabilities must surely be “confused,” or unable to tell right from wrong, or unable to make their own decisions about what is done to their bodies.

Disabled children may also be targeted for child murder, either because parents perceive them as bringing shame to the family or because adults may be convinced they will be “better off” dead than disabled. In countries where many men share the belief that sex with a virgin will “cleanse” them of HIV/AIDS, girls, boys, and adults with disabilities may be targeted for rape on the assumption that they do not have sex. Children with disabilities also may be forcibly sterilized, sometimes as early as the age of 8 or 9.

The report makes a series of 13 recommendations for families, communities, policy makers, governments, advocates, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organizations, United Nations agencies, and other stakeholders with an interest in preventing violence toward disabled children. These recommendations include, as a few examples: increasing public awareness; reforming legislation so that the laws can better protect children with disabilities; advocating change to improve inclusion of disabled people throughout society; improving reporting mechanisms so that people who become aware of abuse have a way to report it; closing down institutions and integrating disabled children into the community; but also improving government oversight of institutions for as long as they continue to exist.

The 33-page report can be downloaded in PDF format (245 Kb) at:

http://www.unicef.org/videoaudio/PDFs/UNICEF_Violence_Against_Disabled_Children_Report_Distributed_Version.pdf

People interested in the topic of violence against children may also wish to read an article on violence and disabled children in the 2003 issue of the joint Rehabilitation International and UNICEF newsletter, One in Ten:

http://riglobal.org/publications2/10_24.htm

Also of possible interest:

A recent report, Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities could give ideas to advocates and families for how they can use international human rights laws to protect the rights of children with disabilities.

Learn about a report on human rights abuses of disabled children and adults in Serbia, including the use of violence.

Read a paper on Violence Against Blind and Visually Impaired Girls in Malawi

Those interested in abuse and human rights violations in institutional settings may also wish to read the following first-hand accounts written by the same author, Amanda Baggs. These are well worth reading. Some talk about the more obvious kinds of violence that most people are used to thinking of as “abuse.” Some talk about forms of psychological manipulation that are so subtle that outside observers might miss them. But Amanda Baggs makes powerful arguments for why “outposts in our head,” or the uses of power nevertheless can be at least as important for anyone who cares about the well-being of children (and adults) with disabilities. Click on any title below to see Amanda Bagg’s post:

Why It’s So Hard to Write Directly About My Life
Outposts in Our Heads: The Intangible Horrors of Institutions that Must Not Be Forgotten
The Meaning of Power
Extreme Measures, and Then Some



We Can Do learned about the UNICEF report on violence against disabled children from the AskSource.info database. Asksource.info provides a library of information, resources, and toolkits related to people with disabilities and to health issues, particularly in developing countries.



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UN Secretary General Encourages Employment of Disabled People

Posted on 4 December 2007. Filed under: Employment, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Secretary-General
SG/SM/11305
HR/4934
OBV/673

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABLED PERSONS, SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES PLEDGE
BY ALL TO ENSURE DISABLED PERSONS’ FULL PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY LIFE

Following is the text of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December:

This year’s International Day of Disabled Persons focuses on the goal of decent work for persons with disabilities, and reminds us that every person deserves opportunities for productive employment inconditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

Persons with disabilities are deprived of adequate employment opportunities in nearly every society. Estimates show that at least half of all disabled people in developed nations, and the vast majority of those with disabilities in developing countries, are unemployed. Most others are underemployed, or will never have full access to the labour market. This situation is deplorable.

Persons with disabilities have the ability to make valuable contributions in the workforce as employees, entrepreneurs and employers. But they face numerous barriers that prevent them from fulfilling their potential. Early in life, they encounter difficulties gaining access to an education or acquisition of employable skills. Later on, fears and prejudices about their abilities deny them the work opportunities available to others. Inaccessible workplaces, explicit and implicit discriminatory legislation and practices, and unfavourable work conditions pose additional hurdles.

Yet, whenever the opportunity arises, persons with disabilities prove their worth as productive members of the workforce. That is why more and more employers are slowly coming to the realization that employing persons with disabilities makes good sense. Changing workplace environments and advances in information and communications technology are also giving persons with disabilities new avenues for seeking decent work.

Most States do not have legislation protecting persons with disabilities in the workplace. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is expected to enter into force early next year, recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities to work and employment on an equal basis with others. It stresses their right to earn a living from freely chosen work, and to work in an environment that is both accessible and accepting.

On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to seeking equal rights for all, and let us pledge to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities in the lives of their communities.


The text for this blog post is taken from a press release from the United Nations. The United Nations has a web page on the International Day of Disabled Persons. Also see what the International Labour Organization (ILO) did to celebrate the day and review their resources.

More information about the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is available at the UN Enable web site. Information about a global campaign to ratify the convention is at the RatifyNow web site.


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