Inclusive Safeguarding TG
Studies by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, African Child Policy, What Works Against Violence and others show that children and adults with disabilities face a higher risk of all types of abuse, neglect and harm, when compared with their peers without disabilities. Some factors which place persons with disabilities at higher risk of violence include stigma, discrimination, isolation, limited education on disabilities and lack of social support for those who care for or support them.
In addition, research and member experience show that children and adults with disabilities are also less likely to disclose their abuse due to inaccessible reporting mechanisms; reduced opportunity to report due to isolation; restrictive social and gender norms and biases; limited education for people with disabilities on their rights and definitions of abuse; limited accessible support services.
The IDDC Inclusive Safeguarding Task Group aims to identify the different intersectionality of social, gender-based, physical and institutional barriers, which put persons with disabilities at higher risk of harm. We then aim to work collaboratively with our partners to remove these barriers and minimise the risks posed to adults and children with disabilities.
Our members want to work to reduce the risks of harm to children and adults with disabilities by mainstreaming inclusive safeguarding approaches, so that “disability isn’t what we focus on” can no longer be an excuse for inaccessible and exclusionary practice. At IDDC we commit to leave no one behind, which is why we believe safeguarding policies and processes should be made both inclusive and accessible, for all children and adults with disabilities to be able to exercise their rights.
- Persons with disabilities are 3 times more likely to experience physical violence, sexual violence and emotional violence than their non-disabled peers. (We Decide Young Persons with Disabilities: Equal Rights and a Life Free of Violence, 2016)
- Women with disabilities are 10 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than their non-disabled peers. (We Decide Young Persons with Disabilities: Equal Rights and a Life Free of Violence, 2016)
to African Child Policy Forum research, sexual violence inflicted on children
with disabilities is high in
many [African] countries, ranging from 1.9 counts of sexual violence per child in Senegal to 3.9 counts
per child in Cameroon. Types of sexual violence included rape (52 per cent), forced prostitution
(30 per cent), and indecent touching (43 per cent). (The African Report on Children with Disabilities: Promising starts and persisting challenges, 2014)
- Women with disabilities within low and middle-income countries are two to four times more likely to experience intimate partner violence (IPV) compared to women without disabilities (Disability, violence, and mental health among Somali refugee women in a humanitarian setting, 2020)
- Children with Disabilities are 3.7 times more likely to be victims of violence than children without disabilities. (WHO, 2012)
- Children with disabilities are more likely than siblings without disabilities to experience violence at home. (ACPF, Breaking the Silence: Violence against children with disabilities in Africa. Addis Ababa, 2010)
- Children with disabilities are 2.9 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than children without disabilities. (WHO, 2012)
- Many countries in Africa have low registration rates for children with disabilities. For example, only 28.5 per cent of children with disabilities in Ethiopia and 48.7 per cent of children with disabilities in Uganda 29 are registered at birth. When children are not registered at birth, they cannot access all the rights to which citizens in a country are entitled, like enrolling in school. (ACPF, The Lives of Children with Disabilities in Africa: A glimpse into a hidden world. Addis Ababa, 2011)
- Develop practical resources that will assist practitioners, such as toolkits, checklists and best practice guidance for specific safeguarding topics e.g. reporting
- Run a safeguarding session at the 2023 IDDC Annual General Meeting
- Map relevant research and tools and share amongst members
- Advocate for mainstreaming of disability inclusive safeguarding
- Make recommendations to policy makers, donors and other key stakeholders
- https://africanchildforum.org/index.php/en/ (see resources)