SBWWD (1).doc - Women With Disabilities Accessing Crisis...

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Women With Disabilities Accessing Crisis Services A project to assist domestic violence/crisis services in the ACT to better support women with disabilities who are escaping domestic and family violence WWDACT Funded by
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Background The project was a collaboration between Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM), the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) and Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT), and which focussed on increasing the capacity for service providers to support women with a disability escaping domestic and family violence. It was funded by a grant from the Women’s Services Network (WESNET). The project aimed at exploring current practices, raising awareness and assisting domestic violence / crisis services in the ACT to become more accessible for women with disabilities by developing a set of best practice principles. Research indicates that violence against women with disabilities is a problem, and that compared to non-disabled women, women with disabilities: experience violence at higher rates and more frequently; are at a significantly higher risk of violence; have considerably fewer pathways to safety; tend to be subjected to violence for significantly longer periods of time; experience violence that is more diverse in nature; and, experience violence at the hands of a greater number of perpetrators. There is a wide range of domestic settings in which women with disabilities experience violence including the family home, group homes, institutions, hospitals, respite care facilities, and day activity centres. The lack of inclusive services and programs for women with disabilities experiencing or at risk of experiencing violence, is well documented and is widely recognised as a barrier to women with disabilities escaping the violence perpetrated against them. (Women with Disabilities Australia, Response to the Australian Government’s Consultation on the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children, July 2008). Anecdotally, this national evidence is also shared by women with disabilities in the ACT - we know that very few women with disabilities access family violence services and if they do, the services do not always meet their needs. _____________________________________________________________________ 2
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Introduction Eighteen per cent of Australians over eighteen have a disability, and just under half of these people are women (Temby 1996). Approximately 23,000 ACT women were reported to have a disability in 2003 (ABS 2003). The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against people on the basis that they have, or may have, a disability. The DDA also covers people with a disability from being discriminated against because: they are accompanied by an assistant, interpreter or reader; they are accompanied by a trained animal, such as a guide or hearing dog; and they use equipment or an aid, such as a wheelchair or a hearing aid.
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