Domestic and family violence services are hugely inaccessible for women with disability

Today in Parliament Abigail passed a motion highlighting the significant barriers women with disability face when accessing domestic, family and sexual violence services. 

Abigail moved:

(1) That this House notes that according to People with Disability Australia (PWDA) in a report entitled “Building Access End of Project Report” published in November 2023:

(a) women, non-binary people and children with disabilities face significant barriers to accessing domestic, family and sexual violence services, with a concerning 100 percent of women with disabilities having experienced fear and mistrust of services and authorities, 71 percent of women with disability feeling unwelcome when accessing domestic and family violence services, 57 percent of women with disabilities having avoided seeking support due to negative past experiences including dismissal, discrimination and experiencing further harm, and 28 percent of women with disability reporting fear of having children removed from their care if they accessed services;

(b) women with disability are twice as likely than women without disability to experience sexual violence in their lifetime, and while women with disability experience all the same forms of domestic and family violence that other women experience, they are at risk of additional forms of domestic and family violence, including forced sterilisation, seclusion and restrictive practices;

(c) women with disability are frequently not believed upon disclosing their experiences of DFV and this can normalise their experiences of violence and oppression; an

(d) initiatives like PWDA’s Building Access Project that educate and inform service providers around inclusion and accessibility offer a demonstrated solution to ensure victim-survivors with disability are able to equitably access domestic, family and sexual violence services. 

(2) That this House:

(a) affirms that women with disability being able to access domestic, family and sexual violence services equitably to women without disability is a human right;  

(b) calls on the Australian Government to commit to a national roadmap toward ensuring domestic, family and sexual violence services are accessible, safe and inclusive for women, non-binary people and children with disability; and

(c) calls on the NSW Government to commit to delivering domestic, family and sexual violence services in NSW which are accessible, safe and inclusive for women, non-binary people and children with disability, by working with victim-survivors with disability and representatives to create and fund initiatives that understand the nuanced reality of the experiences that victim-survivors with disability face.

Read the transcript in Hansard here.

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