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European CommissionBundesministerium für Bildung und FrauenSozialministerium

Research Project Supported by the European Commission, the BMBF and BMASK

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About the Project

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"Access to Specialised Victim Support Service for Women with Disabilities who have Experienced Violence" is a project about disabled women who have experienced violence and need access to support services carried out in four European Countries (Austria, Germany, United Kingdom and Iceland). Lead of the Project is the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, Austria, and the project is funded by the Daphne programme of the European Commission, started in 2013 for two years. The European partners are the Universities from Leeds (GB), Gießen (Germany) and Iceland.


This work is very important because there have been many reports that suggest disabled women are significantly more likely to experience violence than non-disabled women. Also they are more likely to encounter barriers to accessing mainstream victim support services which prevent them from reporting the acts and getting the protection they need.

The issue has been recognized as a priority by the monitoring committees of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Violence against Women (CEDAW). So it is important to listen to the personal stories of disabled women to understand how they have been affected by violence over the course of their lives, and the barriers they face in help-seeking from mainstream victim support services and by disability organizations. In particular we seek to learn about:

  • Whether the four countries fulfill their national obligations as stated in the UNCRPD, CEDAW and other legal instruments and measures aimed at the protection of non-disabled women and especially of women with disabilities who have experienced violence.
  • Which specialized victim support services (shelters, helplines, counseling services, etc.) offer services for disabled women who have experienced violence.

Final European Conference on the project: “Access To Specialised Victim Support Services For Women with Disabilities Who Have Experienced Violence”

Conference room with participants
Welcome note by Federal Minister for Women and Education Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek
Welcome note by Hana Velecka, Delegate of the European Commission
Coffee break - conference participants looking at brochures
Key Note Speech by Ana Peláez Narváez, Member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Director of International Relations at the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind
Lunch break - conference participants
Panel 2: Elisabeth Löffler, Mridul Wadhwa, Teresa Lugstein, Þorbera Fjölnisdóttir, Dorothea Brozek
Sabine Mandl and Dorothea Brozek

We are very pleased that we had such a well attended conference on January 28th in the House of the European Union in Vienna and would like to thank each of you for taking the time and effort to come and participate. Your presence helped to make this event a great success!

As part of a comparative study carried out in four countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, Iceland and Austria), the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) has investigated how women with disabilities experience violence and what support they receive in such situations. Women with disabilities who had experienced violence and staff of victim support service organisations have developed a series of recommendations for victim support service organisations as well as policymakers. The study shows how experiences of violence of women with disabilities are often more complex than those of women without disabilities, and also that they generally run a higher risk of experiencing violence. The study is the result of an EU-Project involving four different countries. Research organisations in Austria, Germany, Iceland and the United Kingdom investigated what forms of violence women with disabilities experience and what kind of support would be useful for them. Following the principle: “ Nothing about us without us!” women with disabilities were involved as interview-partners, as researchers and as members of the advisory groups. The study was funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Daphne III programme, and in Austria it was additionally co-funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The Federal Minister for Education and Women's Affairs, Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek gave the opening speech for the conference. The main talk was given by Ana Paláez Narváez (member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Director of International Relations at the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind (ONCE)). Our aim was to bring together professionals, activists, policy makers, researchers and the interested public to discuss existing problems with access to support services and to determine solutions, actions and policies to overcome these problems. We certainly hope that you found the talks, discussions and the exchange of experiences and suggestions informative and productive and enjoyed them as much as we did. Let's take the things we have learned back home and continue to work on improvements!

                                                                       We would be glad to hear your feedback and kindly invite you to share it with us!

Press conference

There will be a press conference on Tuesday, January 27, 9 am at Café Landtmann in Vienna, where the main project results and the resulting recommendations will be presented. All media representatives are invited. For details on the press conference see our APA press release (in german only).

Final European Conference on „Access To Specialised Victim Support Services For Women with Disabilities Who Have Experienced Violence”

Date: Wednesday, 28th January 2015
Time: 09:00 - 18:00
Place: Vienna, Austria

House of the European Union (accessible)
Wipplingerstraße 35
1010 Vienna

Language: Austrian Sign Language/ German/ English (simultaneous interpretation provided)

International Project Meeting in Vienna

What do women with disabilities need in case of violence?

An European meeting in the context of this EU-Daphne projcet took place in Vienna from 23rd till 26th of June 2014, which was organised by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.