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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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Project basic information

‘Access to Specialised Victim Support Service for Disabled Women who Experience 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). The project is funded by the Daphne programme of the European Commission, started in 2013 for two years.


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.

•         The specific needs and concerns of disabled women in relation to violence

•        The extent to which disabled women are aware of their rights and the support available if they experienced violence.

•       The extent to which disabled women who have experienced violence have been able to access the range of mainstream services and provisions, and if they get the assistance they expect.

•          Whether victim support services have the resources necessary to address the needs and concerns of disabled women.

•       Any good-practice examples of barrier-free access to specialized victim support services for disabled women across the four countries.


With the permission of the disabled women and service providers we talk to, their stories will be used to help inform policies and practices about what is needed to protect and support disabled women who are experiencing violence. In particular, the information we collect will help to do the following:

•          To raise public awareness about a difficult topic which is often hidden.

•          To facilitate and strengthen the networking between disability service providers and specialized victim support facilities.

•          To make recommendations for specialized victim support facilities, disability service providers and policy makers, in all countries and to the European level, so they can improve services for disabled women who have experienced violence.

•          To provide a voice for disabled women whose voices are excluded from mainstream and disability research

How will we conduct the research

Each partner country team will use a mixed method approach to generate evidence about specialist victim support services and the experiences, needs and wants of disabled women who experience violence. These include:

  • Surveying all services for women who are experiencing/ have experienced violence
  • Surveying all Disabled People’s Organisations that provide support for disabled people  who are experiencing/ have experienced violence in their lives
  • Interview service providers (women’s services and disability organisations)
  • Hold focus group discussions with disabled and deaf women
  • Conduct life history interviews with disabled and Deaf women.
  • Identify good-practice examples in each country and develop recommendations