Disabled Women and Domestic Violence

Unlimited Oxfordshire are doing some research with the goal of making lives better for disabled women who experience or are at risk of violence or abuse. They would like to meet with Disabled women with lived experience of violence or abuse and have several meetings coming up.

Shaping Our Lives project, 'A Refuge for All¹, aims to establish a
user-led model of best practice for Disabled women experiencing or at
risk of violence or abuse to ensure their needs are met through current
service provision. Although Disabled women are twice as likely than
non-disabled people to experience domestic violence and abuse, services
are not always inclusive of Disabled women. (the funding for this
project does not include Disabled men in similar situations

We are looking for Disabled women with lived experience of violence or
abuse to take part in this user-led project. We would be very grateful
if you could promote the following opportunities to your members:

  • Focus group in London on Wednesday 14th June from 1-4.15pm
  • Focus group in Birmingham on Thursday 22nd June from 1-4.15pm
    (There will be a light lunch and refreshments offered for the focus
  • Advisory Group of Disabled women with lived experience of
    domestic violence or abuse that will meet quarterly, for no more than 2
    hours, over 2 years, starting in July (date to be agreed in week
    commencing 17th July for the first meeting).

Travel and reasonable support costs will be met for these meetings and
an involvement payment of £50 per meeting is offered to those people
who are able to accept it.

Shaping Our Lives is a non-profit making user-led organisation that
hosts a national network of user-led groups, service users and Disabled
people. We are committed to inclusivity and diversity, specialising in
user controlled research and involvement practice ensuring that diverse
and excluded communities are represented in the policy making, planning
and delivery of services.

For more information about this project and to register your interest
in confidence, please contact Becki Meakin, General Manager of Shaping
Our Lives at becki@shapingourlives.org.uk or call 07956 424511.

I am delighted to see this research. Violence towards disabled women is often a hidden problem, which I encountered several times in my social work career. But one woman’s situation stands out for me.

Many years ago I tried to help a blind woman with learning difficulties who also had a physical impairment that reduced her mobility. Services focused on her “separate problems” (her words) and then played “pass the parcel” with her.

Lots of local services initially said they were willing to help but when faced with the reality of X, they decided another organisation would be much more suitable. They all regarded her as someone else’s problem. She was viewed as too able for learning disability services but needing an assessment for psychiatric services, when she and I did not think she needed psychiatric help. The local authority services for blind people said they could not help her because of the severity of her “other disabilities” and referred her to the physical disability team, who said they lacked the skills to help X, The charity for blind people referred her to the charity for people with physical disability.

Time went by and she remained in danger. The police simply had no idea where would be safe to take her. In the end the local refuge provided help and got her happily re-settled in her new home. But it was a real battle and she was at considerable risk at home.