Disabled Women Our Bodies Our Rights Gender Matters

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Disabled Women: Our Bodies, Our Rights

Disabled Women: Our Bodies, Our Rights

Gender Matters in Disability • The issues of greatest importance to disabled women in

Gender Matters in Disability • The issues of greatest importance to disabled women in Scotland today. • Disabled women’s experiences of reproductive and parenting services can be very different to those of non-disabled women.

The Process • Two large consultation events • An on-line survey • Workshops •

The Process • Two large consultation events • An on-line survey • Workshops • Roundtables • Focus groups

 • “We are treated like children, it’s almost as if we are not

• “We are treated like children, it’s almost as if we are not expected to have a relationship. ” • “There should be more acceptance that disabled people have sex. ” • “Because I have a disability people felt I didn’t have a right to a sex life. ” • “I did not receive any sex education at school. I think as well as the clinical side of things disabled women need more information on emotional wellbeing, what is appropriate behaviour for men. ”

“I never got much support with parenting. I just had to get on with

“I never got much support with parenting. I just had to get on with it myself, and got some help from my mum. I didn’t get the guidance I needed and felt miserable. I didn’t get any sex education – I was at a special school. Once I got married it was an eye-opener. I was the abused verbally and mentally. I never knew anything about contraception. I didn't intend to get pregnant. ”

Themes • Parental rights • Training and education • Reproductive, sexual and maternal health

Themes • Parental rights • Training and education • Reproductive, sexual and maternal health services • Violence against disabled women

Violence Against Disabled Women • Disabled women are up to twice as likely to

Violence Against Disabled Women • Disabled women are up to twice as likely to experience abuse as non-disabled women. • Reported rates of sexual violence among disabled women range from 51% - 79% • 90% of learning disabled women have been subjected to sexual abuse • 20% of disabled women have experienced unwanted sex compared to 8. 2% of nondisabled women.

Violence Against Disabled Women Disabled women’s lack of reproductive control contributes to an increased

Violence Against Disabled Women Disabled women’s lack of reproductive control contributes to an increased risk of sexual violence, abuse and coercion. Underlying contributing factors include: • Pervasive discrimination • Negative attitudes • Lack of knowledge • Poor access to services

Training and Education • Inclusive and accessible sex and relationships education is vital to

Training and Education • Inclusive and accessible sex and relationships education is vital to prevent negative and harmful outcomes. • This is often not available in special education settings, and mainstream programmes rarely address disabled women’s distinct sexual and reproductive health needs. • Disabled women and girls face multiple barriers in making informed decisions about their own bodies, health and lives.

Recommendations • Ensure that disabled women and girls’ specific experiences are reflected in Equally

Recommendations • Ensure that disabled women and girls’ specific experiences are reflected in Equally Safe and its action plan. • Develop continuing professional development (CPD) resources for professionals around the needs of disabled women who report experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence • Improve working relationships, including referral pathways, between disabled people's organisations and rape crisis centres, women’s aid groups and other specialist service providers. • Ensure access to age-appropriate, and inclusive sex and relationships education using resources designed in collaboration with disabled women and girls.

Our Bodies: Our Rights 6 th November 10 am – 3 pm COSLA Conference

Our Bodies: Our Rights 6 th November 10 am – 3 pm COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh www. engender. org. uk

Catriona Kirkpatrick Development Manager catriona. kirkpatrick@engender. org. uk

Catriona Kirkpatrick Development Manager catriona. [email protected] org. uk