Daphne Toolkit

Lighthouse - Health Institutions: A Place of Violence for Women with Disabilities? An Issue of Ethics and Human Rights

Project Reference Number: 

Lighthouse - Health Institutions: A Place of Violence for Women with Disabilities? An Issue of Ethics and Human Rights

The project was born as a “continuum” of the work and the research developed by DPI Italia in the previous projects, realized within the Daphne Program, that were aimed at women with disability as well as other women that cover significant roles in the lives of women with disability. The project wanted to follow this line, realizing a research in the specific area of health. From research and direct experience, pointed out on behalf of the organizations of women with disability in Europe and not only, it was highlighted, in fact, how even today forms of direct and indirect violence on women with disability in health and rehabilitative facilities still subsist. The problems, therefore, that this project confronts refer to ethical considerations. Women with disability in health contexts and health facilities are constantly exposed to eugenic programs (selective abortion and infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia, forced sterilization) that effect bioethical issues and damage the dignity of the person and his/her human rights. 


In this context, the project aimed to:

  • put into perspective areas of discrimination and violence to which women with disabilities are exposed within the field of health; discrimination and violence to which professional women or policy-makers of the health world also contribute;
  • start processes of recognition between these two targets of women on violence received and performed by increasing awareness;
  • identify prevention and protection strategies and mechanisms by promoting forms of mutual responsibility between women who hold different roles.


The project included research-action based on focus groups addressing two target groups of women in three Member States (IT, HU and ES); study workshops on specific themes regarding issues on ethics and human rights concerning the relationship between disabilities, health and care; and a transnational seminar involving the European network of organisations of women with disabilities, in order to promote and spread guidelines that could influence health regulations and structures on a European and national level. Also a manual was produced, to raise the issue of disability, containing an ethical reflection and its theoretical and legislative suppositions inherent to gender in the context of disability and an overview on the research-action, realized in Italy, Hungary, and Spain.


The direct beneficiaries of the project are women that live in conditions of disability and that often need to relate themselves with health facilities and professionals from the health world. Indirect beneficiaries are professional women or women that cover roles of policy makers in the health world.