Annette Lawson, Chair of the Judith Trust, attended the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 2013.  The theme was the elimination of violence against women and girls.

The session was chaired by June Jacobs, International Council of Jewish Women and an Advisor to the Judith Trust Inclusion Campaign.  June introduced Jane’s Story, as an example of gender-, disability- and race-based hate crime in the UK;  you can read Jane’s Story here.

Annette Lawson presented a quiz on Disability Hate Crime, to enable to audience to understand the issues faced by people with disabilities in the UK.  1 in 5 people with disabilities were victims of hate crime in 2011, and 4 out of 5 children with SEN experienced bullying.  Racist and homophobic attacks disproportionately affect people with disabilities.

Alex Wlicox, aged 17 from Stroud High School and a member of the NAWO (National Association of Women’s Organisations) Youth Caucus, spoke about violence against young women with disabilities.  Alex explained that a lack of social support and limited opportunities for education, employment or participation in the community makes women with disabilities more vulnerable.  According to the United States Agency for International Development, human trafficking studies show that the proportion of child prostitutes who have mild development disabilities is six times greater than that of the general population.

Other speakers included Lakhjeet Kaur, from UWE, who works with students with disabilities; and Dr Wendi Momen from the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF).  The EBFF has a series of ethical principles which are being signed up to by companies and these include advancing the rights of disabled people and non-discrimination.  Dr Momen also stressed that, as consumers, we all have the chance and responsibility to influence companies and encourage companies to adhere to their principles and take social responsibility seriously.

Women with disabilities need to be understood as both women and people with disabilities.  They are gendered people and the acts committed against them are therefore gendered crimes.  There was agreement that we need these issues to be mainstreamed and UN Women has proposed a meeting of CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and perhaps the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The Judith Trust hope to continue to pursue these important issues in the future.

You can read a report on CSW by Annette Lawson here