221879 Unheard voice: Addressing violence against women with disabilities

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kate Blisard, BS , Division of Disability Services, NJ Department of Human Services, Trenton, NJ
Susannah L. Combs, MAS , Division of Disability Services, NJ Department of Human Services, Trenton, NJ
Colleen Roche, BS , Division of Disability Services, NJ Department of Human Services, Trenton, NJ
Suzanne C. Smeltzer, RN, EdD , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Approximately 54 million people in the U.S. live with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities; about half of them are women. People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group in the U.S. The incidence of violence against women with disabilities is alarmingly high. Studies estimate that women with disabilities are abused 3 to 10 times more often than their non-disabled peers, yet healthcare providers often ignore this issue in interactions with women with disabilities. In an effort to increase awareness, knowledge and sensitivity of healthcare providers in New Jersey about the unique issues facing women with disabilities who are abused and to provide information to women with disabilities themselves, training sessions are being provided across New Jersey. Approximately 22 trainings for each target audience are being conducted throughout the state over a three-year period. Healthcare providers receive information about signs of abuse and assault, legal issues and requirements, and resources and referrals appropriate for and accessible to women with disabilities. The training for women with disabilities addresses violence and abuse, their legal rights, and safe strategies to use if they experience violence or threats of violence. To date, 67 women with disabilities and 500 healthcare providers have received training. The outcomes of the project (i.e., knowledge and awareness) are assessed through pretests-posttests and evaluation surveys completed at the end of each training session. Additionally, focus groups are conducted several months after the trainings. Outcomes of the training will be discussed in the presentation.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify incidence of abuse and violence affecting women with disabilities. Describe an innovative approach to educate healthcare providers about abuse and violence affecting women with disabilities. Describe educational information provided to women with disabilities about abuse and violence.

Keywords: Violence, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been part of the project from its inception and am assisting in the evaluation component of the project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.