Minister Rabbitte to commission research into gender-based violence against people with disabilities

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Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte has said that she intends to commission research into gender-based violence against people with disabilities this year.

The Fianna Fáil TD, who is Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability, noted that Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2018 and ‘remains committed to progressively realising the rights’ of people with disabilities.

She said that the UNCRPD contains important rights for women with disabilities, and the right of all people with disabilities to be free from exploitation, violence and abuse.

The Galway TD explained that the research will examine gender-based violence against people with disabilities ‘in the context of ongoing action’ to address gender-based violence more broadly in Irish society, and that it will provide a significant evidence base to inform future policy decisions.

Announcing her intention to conduct the research, Minister Rabbitte said: “We, as government, need to ensure we are considering all voices when we discuss gender-based violence, including women with disabilities.

“Such research, whatever the findings may be, will undoubtedly provide additional insight into this space, which we don’t often hear conversations about. To have such empirical evidence will help inform future policy development.”

Minster Rabbitte added that she is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities in Ireland are supported to live their lives and participate fully in their communities.

“No-one can do that when faced with the risk or the awful reality of violence or abuse,” she said.

“We know too well that the Covid-19 pandemic created conditions that heightened these risks, and this is particularly the case where intersectional issues arise.

“The research that will be conducted this year will help us to better understand how people with disabilities experience gender based violence and this will inform the steps that we will take, in consultation with people with disabilities, to address and eliminate the specific harms and jeopardy that they might currently face in this regard.”