Daphne Toolkit

Childhood, disability and violence: Empowering disability organisations to develop prevention strategies

Project Reference Number: 
2003-215-C

Childhood, disability and violence: Empowering disability organisations to develop prevention strategies

The Childhood, Disability and Violence project has raised the awareness that primary prevention has to focus on the empowerment of families and the enhancement of their protective role. The project has shown that effective prevention of violence against children requires multi-level interventions, e.g. interventions that simultaneously address risk factors and protective factors at different levels. Primary prevention is effective if it empowers the family, the child and professionals working with both. Another outcome of the project is that many carers and educators have difficulties in dealing with the issue of domestic violence, and report violent attitudes towards children among colleagues. Training is therefore necessary.

Finally Associations and NGO’s should use their political power to defend the rights of children with disabilities and to obtain appropriate legislation, intervention and support for their members and others.

Categories

Beneficiaries:

Comments

Domestic violence is acknowledged as a significant social problem and in recent years greater attention has been devoted to the victims of domestic violence, in particular where it affects children. Nevertheless little is known about violence against children with disabilities. Violence in families of children with disabilities is difficult to trace and prevent. Too little accurate epidemiological data is available to have a clear idea of the incidence of domestic maltreatment involving these children, although what is available indicates a higher risk for certain groups.

This project had a number of specific aims:

- to raise awareness about the ‘violence’ issue, to empower the leadership of disability-related organisations and provide them with building blocks to develop prevention policies;

- to evaluate the appropriateness of existing indicators of risk;

- to underpin multi-agency prevention and support strategies. It did this through development of a ‘discussion paper’ tool/booklet that was widely distributed to the target groups, an on-line resource and national seminars, all of which aimed to engage professionals working with people with disability in debate and development of strategies.

Lessons and ideas

The project found that, at a family level, the non-acceptance of the disability or the unrealistic expectations that parents have concerning rehabilitation can cause therapeutic obstinacy inflicted on children. The improper use of pharmacological treatment or the denial of appropriate health assistance (for instance dental care) can also be considered forms of violence. Maternal risk behaviour during pregnancy, for example drug or alcohol abuse, is a form of pre-natal violence that may cause severe disabilities. There are specific forms of violence related to disability caused by complex individual social and cultural attitudes that are particularly difficult to detect and change as they are culturally determined and widely accepted. Negative attitudes towards diversity and disability are expressed by many people through open discrimination. Humiliation, fear of physical contact and disdain, are forms of violence that often see children with disabilities as victims.



The Childhood, Disability and Violence project raised the awareness that primary prevention has to focus on the empowerment of families and the enhancement of their protective role. The project showed that effective prevention of violence against children requires multi-level interventions that simultaneously address risk factors and protective factors at different levels. Primary prevention is effective if it empowers the family, the child and professionals working with them.

Material available

Full report

- Childhood, Disability & Violence: Empowering disability organisations to develop prevention strategies. © AIAS Bologna onlus, 2004. 98 p.

Booklets

- Childhood, Disability & Violence: Empowering disability organisations to develop prevention strategies. © AIAS Bologna onlus, 2004. 24 p.

- Infanzia, disabilità e violenza domestica: Conoscere e prevenire: il ruolo delle associazioni e delle cooperative sociali. © AIAS Bologna onlus, 2004. 24 p.

- Infancia, Discapacidad y Violencia: Facilitar el desarrollo de estrategias de prevención en las Asociaciones de Discapacitados. © AIAS Bologna onlus, 2004. 24 p.

- Infância, Deficiência & Violência. © AIAS Bologna onlus, 2004. 24 p.

- Greek version of the same booklet. © AIAS Bologna onlus, 2004. 24 p.

Web page for downloads: www.aiasbo.it/daphne