Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, today on International Women’s Day, indicated her intention to conduct research into gender-based violence against people with disabilities this year.
Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2018 and remains committed to progressively realising the rights of people with disabilities. The UNCRPD contains important rights for women with disabilities, and the right of all people with disabilities to be free from exploitation, violence and abuse. The National Disability Inclusion Strategy contains specific commitments to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are respected in this regard.
Recognising and building on Ireland’s commitments under the UNCRPD, the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention), and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Minister will commission research to scope the particular issues facing people with disabilities who are at risk of gender-based violence.
The research will examine gender-based violence against people with disabilities in the context of ongoing action to address gender-based violence more broadly in Irish society, and as such it will provide an important evidence base to inform future policy decisions.
Announcing her intention to conduct research into gender-based violence against people with disabilities, Minister Rabbitte said:
This year on International Women’s Day I am announcing my intention to conduct important research into the prevalence and nature of gender-based violence against people with disabilities, to improve our evidence base for action to strengthen safeguards and protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society against violence and abuse.
We, as government, need to ensure we are considering all voices when we discuss gender-based violence, including women with disabilities. Such research, whatever the findings may be, will undoubtedly provide additional insight into this space, which we don’t often hear conversations about. To have such empirical evidence will help inform future policy development.
I am committed to ensuring that people with disabilities in Ireland are supported to live their lives and participate fully in their communities. No-one can do that when faced with the risk or the awful reality of violence or abuse. We know too well that the Covid-19 pandemic created conditions that heightened these risks, and this is particularly the case where intersectional issues arise.
The research that will be conducted this year will help us to better understand how people with disabilities experience gender based violence and this will inform the steps that we will take, in consultation with people with disabilities, to address and eliminate the specific harms and jeopardy that they might currently face in this regard.
Any questions related to this announcement can be sent to: Disability_Policy@equality.