Women with disabilities at higher risk of violence: UN expert

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Rashida Manjoo

Women with disabilities are at a higher risk of being victims of domestic violence, according to the United Nations independent expert on violence against women.

Rashida Manjoo spoke at the start of the two-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Monday.

She told the Commission that women with disabilities experience both the stereotypical attitudes towards women and towards persons with disabilities.

The expert said violence against women with disabilities takes on unique forms, has unique causes and results in unique consequences

"Women with disabilities are at a higher risk of being victims of domestic violence as opposed to women without disabilities. They are likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time and they suffer injuries that are more severe as a result of the violence. In institutional settings, women with disabilities face multiple forms of violence, including forced intake of psychotropic drugs or other forced psychiatric treatment. Furthermore, forced institutionalization itself constitutes a form of violence." (31")

The UN independent expert said that in the justice system, women with disabilities also face a number of obstacles including the systematic failure of the courts to acknowledge them as competent witnesses.

She calls on States to revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex and gender against women with disabilities and to address gender bias against women with disabilities in the administration of justice.

Ms. Manjoo says reforms are also necessary in order to reduce unnecessary imprisonment of individuals with disabilities.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'33"

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December 2017
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