Every Child Matters

Protecting children with disabilities against violence
Photo: Light for the world CBR expert, Sophia Mohammed, at work with a child and family. Credit: Light for the World

“Violence against children is never justifiable. Nor is it inevitable. If its underlying causes are identifed and addressed, violence against children is entirely preventable.“
- Kofi Annan

The Situation

Children with disabilities are more vulnerable to violence because ...

  • The community does not recognise the disability (e.g. feel that a deaf child should just listen better) or think the child is cursed and would rather get rid of it
  • Parents think the child has no future and neglect it
  • Perpetrators think the child cannot report them
  • Perpetrators expect the child to not be HIV positive
  • Children with disabilities receive no sex education
  • Low self-esteem makes them more vulnerable
  • They are often denied their rights to services including medical care or protection

Children with disabilities are 3 to 4 times more likely to become victims of violence than their peers. Children with intellectual disabilities are 4 to 5 times more likely to become victims of sexual violence than their peers.

What you can do

To protect children with disabilities from violence and abuse, our programme work focuses on ...

  • Showing the community that every child is valuable
  • Teaching the community about the rights of children with disabilities
  • Working on the life skills and self-perception
  • Supporting the child’s access to healthcare, assistive devices and social support
  • Supporting access to education and helping schools to adapt to the needs of children with disabilities
  • Supporting families of children with disabilities with the means to generate income
  • Strengthening groups of persons with disabilities, to help children realise they are not alone, and that they have rights like everybody else

Our child protection policy

For an organisation working for and with children with disabilities, such as Light for the World, a clear and explicit policy describing how violence against children is to be prevented, is crucial. Of course we hold our local partner organisations to the same high standards which we apply to ourselves.

>> Download Light for the World's child protection policy document here

Her Body, Her Rights

In 2017, Light for the World produced a case study on barriers to sexual health education for girls with disability in Ethiopia, titled 'Her Body, Her Rights'.

>> Download the case study here
>> Read an interview with its editor, CBR expert 
Marieke Boersmahere