The organization providing support to women with disabilities …IZ KRUGA — VOJVODINA, in cooperation with the United Nations Agency for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality UNWOMEN and with the financial support of the European Commission continues to work on improving the support system for women with disabilities experiencing violence. The activities will be implemented in ten municipalities in Serbia: Doljevac, Kragujevac, Mionica, Negotin, Novi Knezevac, Raska, Uzice, Valjevo, Vranje and Zabalj, and will last until April 2021.
Access to general and specialist services for women in the situation of violence is guaranteed by national and international law and standards, however, women with physical, sensorial impairments and intellectual disabilities encounter a myriad of obstacles. Women with disabilities feel detached from community life, which attributes to prevailing stereotypical perception of disability, on top of gender-related prevailing stereotypes. They often have difficulties in getting information about protecting their rights to live a life free of violence and accessing proper services.
The pandemic has uncovered and reinforced the deeply rooted marginalization of women at all levels. Women with disabilities living in violence are in a particularly risky position, as they are now continually exposed to violent partners or family members. Their right to privacy is threatened, and thus the possibility to seek support.
Through activities that will be implemented in the next year in ten municipalities (Doljevac, Kragujevac, Mionica, Negotin, Novi Knezevac, Raska, Uzice, Valjevo, Vranje and Zabalj) we will raise awareness about the state of existing services and the needs of women with disabilities, introduce new services, adapt existing services and secure accessible, affordable and quality services and adapted models of communication in the treatment of women with disabilities who have survived violence. Due to insufficient visibility of women with disabilities during and after the crisis and low awareness of their position and specific forms and manifestations of violence to which they are exposed, activities will focus on changing the perception of relevant decision makers, key actors at local and national level, providers of general and specialized services, women with disabilities and society as a whole.
We expect changes both at the individual level of professionals (working in security, justice, health, and social protection) and at the institutional level, as local institutions will be strengthened by internal procedures and standards of conduct to better respond to violence against women with disabilities.
This text was published with the financial support of the European Union within the regional project “Application of norms, change of consciousness”. The views expressed in this text are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women and the European Union.