logo

Bringing disabled women together, mobilising
and sharing through lived experiences

Subscribe To Newsletter

Sisters of Frida calls out UK Government on human rights violations of disabled women

PRESS RELEASE

Sisters of Frida joins Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) from across the UK in Geneva this week to present evidence of violations on disabled people’s rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD)

In a closed session on Monday 21st August, DDPOs will highlight the UK Government’s failure to respond to many of the questions put to it by the Committee throughout this process. They will tell the Committee of the systemic failure to support disabled people to live independently and to have access to social, educational, and employment opportunities.

This is the first time the UN Disability Committee is reviewing the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since the UK government ratified the Convention in 2009. DDPOs will tell the Committee that the government has ignored many of the questions put to it earlier this year as part of the review process. The Committee will consider the government’s response to its questions and the DDPOs’ observations before questioning representatives from the UK and devolved governments in Geneva later this week (23 and 24 August).

Eleanor Lisney, Director of Sisters of Frida says,

‚ÄėWe have been calling out on the failure of the UK Government to fulfil obligations to disabled women since 2013 when we joined the UK CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Workgroup and delegation in 2013 going to Geneva). We did the same when we went to UN in New York city for CSW (UN Commission on the Status of Women) the UKNGOCSW delegation and held a side event. It is vital that disabled women are represented in processes like CRPD reporting as too often our experience as disabled women is invisible.This is an opportunity to change this and show how the cuts and legal changes are affecting us.‚Äô

Sarah Rennie, who will be representing Sisters of Frida in Geneva says,

‚ÄėThe UK Government‚Äôs response does not address how gender-specific policies incorporate the social model of disability to break down barriers, meet the needs of Disabled women, or require an intersectional approach. We urge the Government to immediately remove the ‚Äúbest interests‚ÄĚ defence in the Serious Crime Act 2015 which restricts Disabled women from seeing their perpetrators of emotional abuse brought to justice, and to improve access to medical care for Disabled women including pre-natal and reproductive health services.‚Äô

The DDPOs’ submission was co-produced by Reclaiming our Futures Alliance (including Sisters of Frida ), Inclusion Scotland, People First Scotland, DRUK, Disability Wales, Disability Action Northern Ireland, British Deaf Association, and Black Triangle.

 

 

Defend our Rights, Rights of Disabled Women, #intersectionality #CRPD17, #DDPOSGeneva

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1) The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities investigation is assessing what steps the UK has taken to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. The committee is a body of experts, nominated and elected by governments. The majority of committee members are disabled people.

2) The committee postponed its scheduled assessment of the UK (originally due in 2015) to hold a special inquiry into complaints by DPPOs that the government’s welfare reform policies had violated disabled people’s rights. The current assessment looks at a much wider set of issues, including our laws on mental health and mental capacity, employment policies and education.

3) Before examining UK and devolved government representatives on Wednesday and Thursday the committee will meet with representatives of DDPOs to discuss their views on the formal written response already tabled by the UK government. The DDPOs have prepared their own submission as highlighted above.

4) Previous UN shadow reports from Sisters of Frida can be found at http://www.sisofrida.org/resources/

5) ROFA is an alliance of Disabled People and their organisations in England including Inclusion London, Equal Lives, Alliance for Inclusive Education, Sisters of Frida, National People First and Disabled People Against Cuts. For more information see: www.rofa.org.uk

6) more information about Sisters of Frida to be found at http://www.sisofrida.org

7) information on the status of disabled women in the Serious Crime Art 2015 can be found at http://www.sisofrida.org/resources/violence-against-women/

Press queries to

Eleanor Lisney, Director, mobile 07737480378

Email: hello@sisofrida.org T: @sisofrida http://www.sisofrida.org

Disabled Women: Facts and Stats

We often get asked why we campaign for the rights of disabled women. Here are a few reasons.

 

Employment and Pay

  • 35% of disabled women (and 30% of disabled men) are paid below the National Living Wage in the UK.[1]
  • Disabled men face a pay gap of 11%, while disabled women faced a gap twice as large at 22%.[2]
  • Despite qualifications, disabled women have lower participation rates in higher skilled jobs and work fewer hours than both non-disabled women and disabled men.[3]
  • 27% of disabled women are economically inactive compared with 16% disabled men.[4]
  • Lone parenthood reduces female employment generally by 15%. However, disabled female lone parents are more than half as likely to work than non-disabled female lone parents.[5]

 

Violence and Abuse

  • Disabled people experience more domestic abuse than non-disabled people. Disabled women are significantly more likely to experience domestic abuse than disabled men.[6] In fact, one in ten experienced domestic abuse in 2012-13.[7]
  • Abuse is also more severe, more frequent and more enduring.[8][9][10]
  • Deaf women are twice as likely as hearing women to suffer domestic abuse.[11]
  • The Serious Crime Act 2015 made ‚Äėcoercive and controlling behaviour in an intimate or family relationship‚Äô a criminal offence (s.76). The Act provides that it is a defence for a perpetrator to show that they believed themselves to be acting in the victim‚Äôs ‚Äėbest interests‚Äô. This was intended to cover carers. We believe this defence risks preventing disabled women and people with learning disabilities from seeing their abusers brought to justice.

 

Health and Medical Care

  • UK maternity care does not meet the needs of disabled women. A 2016 study revealed that only ‚Äú19% of disabled women said reasonable adjustments had been made for them.‚ÄĚ[12]
  • The CEDAW Committee is concerned that ‚ÄúDisabled, older, asylum seeking and Traveller women face obstacles in accessing medical health care and that Disabled women have limited access to pre-natal care and reproductive health services‚ÄĚ.[13]
  • Disabled women, particularly with learning difficulties, are at risk of forced sterilisation in the UK or are encouraged to consent to sterilisation as a form of ‚Äėmenstruation management‚Äô rather than be presented with a range of options available to other women.

 

Mental Health

  • Disabled women with a mental health problem die on average 13 years earlier than the general UK population.[14]
  • Nearly half of female prisoners in the UK have been identified as having anxiety and depression. This is double the rate of male prisoners. What‚Äôs more, nearly half female prisoners (more than double the rate for men) report attempting suicide.[15]

 

Public Life

  • The CEDAW Committee is concerned that ethnic minority and disabled women are particularly poorly represented in Parliament, the legal system and on public sector.[16]

 

You download this as a factsheet here: Disabled women – Facts and Stats 2017

[1] Equality and Human Rights Commission. 2017. Being Disabled in Britain. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/being-disabled-in-britain.pdf

[2] Papworth Trust. 2016. Disability in UK 2016 Facts and Figures. http://www.papworthtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/Disability%20Facts%20and%20Figures%202016.pdf

[3] All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Work. 2016. Women Returns Annual Report 2016. https://connectpa.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Women-and-work-Annual-report-low-res.pdf

[4] TUC. 2015. Disability and employment. https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/DisabilityandEmploymentReport.pdf

[5] The Poverty Site, 2011 http://www.poverty.org.uk/45/index.shtml

[6] Adding insult to injury: intimate partner violence among women and men reporting activity limitations. Cohen, M. et al. 8, 2006, Annals of Epidemiology, Vol. 16, pp. 644-651

[7] Public Health England. 2015. Disability and domestic abuse: Risk, impacts and response. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/480942/Disability_and_domestic_abuse_topic_overview_FINAL.pdf

[8] Adding insult to injury: intimate partner violence among women and men reporting activity limitations. Cohen, M. et al. 8, 2006, Annals of Epidemiology, Vol. 16, pp. 644-651

[9] Prevalence of abuse of women with physical disabilities. Young, M. et al. 1997, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 78, pp. 34-38.

[10] Partner violence against women with disabilities: prevalence, risk and explanations. Brownridge, D. 2006, Violence against women, Vol. 12, pp. 805-822.

[11] Women’s Aid. 2015. https://www.womensaid.org.uk/16-days-deaf-survivors-and-domestic-abuse/

[12] Hall J, Collins B, Ireland J, and Hundley V. (2016) Interim report: The Human Rights & Dignity Experience of Disabled Women during Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Parenting. Centre for Midwifery Maternal and Perinatal Health, Bournemouth University: Bournemouth. http://www.birthrights.org.uk/2016/09/maternity-care-failing-some-disabled-women/

[13] UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women : Great Britain, November 2014, available at: https://nawo.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CEDAW-concluding-observations-EHRC-and-NAWO.pdf

[14] Equality and Human Rights Commission. 2017. Being Disabled in Britain. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/being-disabled-in-britain.pdf

[15] Light, M., Grant, E. and Hopkins, K. (2013), ‚ÄėGender differences in substance misuse and mental health amongst prisoners: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners‚Äô. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/surveying-prisoner-crime-reduction-spcr

[16] UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women : Great Britain, November 2014, available at: https://nawo.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CEDAW-concluding-observations-EHRC-and-NAWO.pdf

SOF CRPD Shadow Report : UK Initial Report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Disabled people‚Äôs organisations (DPOs) have come together to tell a UN committee the different ways in which the UK government has been breaching the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). See Disability News Service ‘s article DPOs join forces to brief UN on how UK has breached disability convention¬†

Sisters of Frida wrote a short shadow report on 3 Articles with List of Issues. We also contributed to the ROFA shadow report.

See also ROFA Newsletter March 2017, UN Disability Committee Special

4 people in front of the UN building, 3 white women with white man at the back. They are crouching.

ROFA team at the UN in Geneva

ROFA (Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance) Shadow Report (WORD doc)  (PDF ) and List of Issues (WORD doc) (PDF)  Sisters of Frida is a member of ROFA.

 

SoF CRPD Shadow report with List of Issues

SoF CRPD Shadow report with List of Issues

SOF CRPD_Shadow Report (WORD doc)

SoF_CRPD  (PDF)