Sisters of Frida Home

Bringing disabled women together, mobilising
and sharing through lived experiences

Staysafe East on Providing Support to Underrepresented Groups and Communities Affected by Domestic Violence in London

There was a networking event organised by Safer London on 25th Nov – Providing Support to Underrepresented Groups and Communities Affected by Domestic Violence in London.

Ruth Bashall from Staysafe East gave a presentation on the work that they do. Sisters of Frida has many links with Staysafe Eastand supports the great work that they do.

Here are some of the notes from her presentation

Disabled people in general are 3 times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled people

• Disabled women 2 to 5 times are more likely to experience sexual violence than non-disabled women

• 50% of disabled women have experienced violence in their lives, 33% of non- disabled women

• Disabled children are 3 times as likely to be sexually abused than non-disabled children (most likely for disabled girls)

• Worldwide, 70% of women with learning difficulties report being victims of sexual assault (20% of women without earning difficulties) (UN). Sanction detection rates are very low.

• Disabled men are more likely than non-disabled men to be victims of domestic violence

• Hate crime and harassment, and institutional abuse are a common life

She also pointed out that there are many barriers

  • Disbelief – “how can anyone to that to her? she is so vulnerable, Her family want what’s best for her”
  •  A ‘vulnerable adults’/adults at risk framework that does not protect disabled victims
  • Inaccessible information and communication
  • Limited access to support services e.g. short term IDVA or counselling support, no 24 hour support in refuges, wheelchair access, BSL access, ‘don’t meet the criteria’
  • Housing, social care, access to mental health support etc
  • Discrimination in the criminal justice system

To support disabled women survivors of domestic violence,  she offers this advice

  • Be prepared and willing to support disabled and Deaf women
  • Provide disability equality training to staff and volunteers
  • Provide accessible support
  • Include disabled and deaf women amongst paid staff and volunteers
  • Ensure peer support is provided by disabled women to disabled women
  • Ensure accessible information is provided
  • Actively raise public awareness about violence against disabled women
  • Train other professionals about issues around violence against disabled women
  • Collaborate with disabled people’s organisations, including disabled women’s networks

Most importantly she uses the social model of disability approach, that is to say -not to focus primarily on impairments but the role of the environment and society in disability. She would also push for inclusive practice  so as to develop the peer support needed..


Other organisations represented there which gave presentations were Imkaan, Muslim Womens Network, Stonewall Housing, St Mungos Broadway

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *