Access to Justice for women with disabilities


Author: Nadine Spalburg

A2J After 16days

The status quo is disheartening for women with disabilities seeking justice for sexual and gender-based violence. They experience many of the same forms of violence as all women, including psychological, physical, sexual and economic. However, they suffer up to three times greater risk of rape and are twice as likely to be survivors of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence.[1] At the same time, they face additional barriers to access services, legal aid and adequate response in the justice system.

Improving access to justice for women with disabilities is fundamental to ending impunity for sexual and gender-based violence against all women– leaving no one behind.

Legislative change, hand-in-hand with social norms change in communities, is needed to create a more enabling and responsive environment for women with disabilities to seek remedies. Abolishing discriminatory laws and increasing understanding amongst justice providers and law enforcement will drive the necessary change to address impunity for sexual and gender-based violence against women with disabilities effectively.

Listen to the voices of disability rights activists, to understand their specific needs and the opportunities they see to empower women with disabilities in the context of justice and participation in governance and communities at large.

In the words of…

UN Women promotes the same rights in line with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other multilateral agreements. The International Principles and Guidelines on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities were developed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and have been endorsed by the International Commission of Jurists and the International Disability Alliance.

[1] Ortoleva S. and Lewis H., Forgotten Sisters - A Report on Violence against Women with Disabilities: An Overview of Its Nature, Scope, Causes and Consequence (2012).