Communication is a fundamental human need. We use it to socialise, learn and earn a living. For those who cannot communicate easily, the risk of abuse, neglect and social exclusion is extremely high, particularly in countries where communication disability is misunderstood and stigmatised. There is now an emerging recognition, that people with communication disabilities, particularly children, are excluded from health, education and social services, as there is limited knowledge and skills amongst service providers on how to both identify and support them.
It is widely accepted that the groups that are most vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are a) women and girls; b) refugees; c) people with disabilities. The conclusion that those with communication disabilities are at high risk of SGBV – even targeted by perpetrators – with few opportunities to report or access medical, legal or psychological support, reflects findings from a project, conducted by the literature review’s authors, Helen Barrett & Dr.Julie Marshall, in Rwanda, in conjunction with UNHCR in 2016.
A second-phase project looking at how to improve support for refugee-survivors of SGBV who have a communication disability is planned for 2017 –follow us on Facebook (Communicability Global) and Twitter (@communiglobal and @jemarshall13) to keep up to date with our progress.