Researching Abuse of People with Disabilities

NDA has had a longstanding programme of work to identify strategies which promote and protect the dignity and safety of people with disabilities. To this end in October 2009 NDA commissioned research to identify methodologies which could be used to study the experiences of people with disabilities of the systems of abuse prevention, protection and redress. Here is a synthesis of the literature review and consultations with experts conducted by UCD and its partners, on methodologies employed nationally and internationally (section one of the broader study).

In this section the aim was to review national and international literature, along with expert opinions, to design a methodology for a pilot study on the experiences of people with disabilities who have been abused. This part of the study related to the identification of challenges and possible solutions in conducting a national study on abuse of people with disabilities, in areas such as sampling and data collection. The main actions included literature reviews, consultation with experts, discussions with individuals in key organisations and bodies, and a review of possible sampling mechanisms. In gathering information, the research team drew from a wide range of disability and abuse support service providers, disability and abuse representative organisations, and other national bodies such as the Gardai, the HSE etc. This stage explored issues such as (1) Current practice and procedures regarding reporting, investigating and providing redress in cases of abuse, and (2) Views on the challenges and solutions to accessing an appropriate sample for the national study and capturing their experiences. It was recognised that the qualitative nature of the topic to be explored as part of a national study would have implications for the recommendations made.

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