Children’s Rights for All! Protectionagainstviolenceand abuse OfChildren with Intellectual Disabilities FactsandFindingsof a European Research on theImplementationofthe UNConvention on the Rights of the Child Camille Latimier Copenhagen , 8 June 2012
Overall objective To analyze through research conducted across the EU Member States the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) from the perspective of children with intellectual disabilities. FromDecember 2009 to November2011.
National Experts National Experts in 22 countries:
Methodology The UN CRC considers all children to be “citizens with equal rights”, rather than just dependents of parents or recipients of public interventions. StateandShadowReports andother official facts and figures Professional opinion Voices of children and their parents were heard in the focus groups and interviews. The report reflects the research approach using the following resources:
Protectionagainstviolenceand abuse - I • Absence of policy or strategy for the prevention of abuse or bullying of children with intellectual disabilities or other disabilities • Little information available about the forms of abuse suffered by children with intellectual disabilities – lack of empirical research and data • Assumption that preventive and reporting measures in case of abusesapply equally to all children
Protectionagainstviolenceand abuse - II • Inadequate measures for children with intellectual disabilities to express their views and to be heardand lack of appropriate supports to victims.(absence of alternative formats, communication barriers, lack of training of staff ) • Abuse in residential care: High number of persons with disabilities living in residential care. Progress are being made: inspection and statutory standards • Bullying (at school and in services): Underestimation of this phenomena and the lack of relevant prevention programmes and no information are provided to parents.
The life of N., aged 10 (2007), who has Down’s syndrome, in an institution: “He wakes up at 7.30… bound to the bed by the leg with a strip of white sheet. He is wearing dirty coveralls. At 8.00, two nurses come in…One heads for N. with a bottle of milk. She feeds him as he is, bound to the bed. N. sucks quickly, without taking a breath. Milk rolls down from his mouth to his neck… she is using the same syringe to administer medication to all the children … then goes to N. Her movements to the child are unceremonious. (…) At 20.20, the nurse in charge of dinner and medicine administration comes in… same process… She gives all the children a drink of water using the same bottle. The lights in the hallway and in the room are never off. N. and the other childrenstay cooped up in the room all night long…” Greece
„We had beentold that there was evidence of systemic sexual abuse going on at M.’s school. We needed to decide if we wanted to leave him there or bring him home. We were really shocked that she didn’t seem concerned about whether or not M. had been abused. The school wouldn’t answer any of our questions and just said we had to talk to their lawyers, which was no help at all. To this day we still don’t know if he was abused at his school and that’s an awful thing for a parent. We just don’t know what impact this has all had on M. and can’t find anyone to help M. or us.“ (UK)
EncouragingParticipationandCombattingDiscrimination • Discrimination is a common occurrence (children with intellectual disabilities and their families) • Attitudes reduce the opportunities for informal learning and social interaction with peers. • Children with intellectual disabilities are hardly ever provided the opportunity to express their views • Absence of provisions on the right to participate for children with intellectual disabilities
Better protecting children with intellectual disabilities -Recommendations • To enforce this right, it is necessary to: • Conduct studies and assess cases of children with intellectual disabilities abused within the care sector, at school or within their natural/family environment or in large residential care institutions. • Train children with intellectual disabilities on personal relationships and sexuality, relating to adults and what to expect from professionals in their life.
Better protecting children with intellectual disabilities – Recommendations • Adapt complaints mechanisms and make reasonable accommodations to allow for children with intellectual disabilities to be heard when they have been victims of violence. • Take immediate measures to prevent abuse in residential care institutions and stop corporal punishments.
Better protecting children with intellectual disabilities - Recommendations In addition, bullying should be explicitly recognised as a form of abuse in legislation, and measures taken to ensure that bullying as well as all forms of psychological violence are dealt with in practice at schools and in other places visited by children.
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