United Nation's seminar on violence against women with disabilities

on 24 August 2012 , 16:00

Commissioned by the Swedish Government, The National Board of Health and Welfare held a seminar on violence against women and girls with disabilities as part of the United Nation's Conference of States Parties in New York in September.

The theme for the 2012 United Nation's Conference of States Parties was the situation for girls and women with disabilities. Sweden focused on the violence these groups are exposed to.

Relevant educational material

In the fall of 2011, the National Board of Health and Welfare published the educational guide, Looking the Other Way. The guide has since received widespread attention from the EU and international disability organizations, as it demonstrates the vulnerability experienced by girls and women with disabilities and highlights the importance of improving the support they recieve from society.

International speakers provided a wide perspective

Speakers at the United Nation's seminar included:

  • Ms. Ann Jönsson, Programme Officer at the National Board of Health and Welfare and author of "Looking the Other Way"
  • Ms. Venus Ilagan – Secretary-General of Rehabilitation International
  • Mr. Shuaib Chalklen – UN Special Rapporteur on Disability
  • Mr. Carl Älfvåg – Director-General of the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Coordination.

The seminar addressed:

Women with disabilities run a high risk of violence due to their dependence, invisibility or defencelessness. Women with psychological and intellectual disabilities are at particular risk. The violence can be physical, sexual and psychological. In developing countries, patriarchal cultures often lead to that the woman is blamed.

The problem is invisible on the political agenda. It is necessary to put pressure on the UN system. UN agencies, e.g WHO, UNDP, UNICEF need to work with issues concerning disabilities and violence against women on an integrated manner. The situation of women living in institutions and in refugee camps is a particular challenge.

About the UN Conference of States Parties

The Conference of States Parties is held regularly to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).