Children are entitled to protection from violence, exploitation and abuse, including from economic exploitation, sexual exploitation and trafficking and any similar practices prejudicial to the child’s welfare. Children and young persons with disabilities have been reported as being significantly more likely to be the victims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse than their peers without disabilities.
The powerlessness, social isolation and stigma faced by children with disabilities make them highly vulnerable to violence and exploitation in their own homes, as well as in care centres, institutions or on the street.
A child who requires assistance with washing, dressing and other intimate care activities may be particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. Perpetrators can include caretakers, attendants, family members, peers or anyone who enjoys a position of trust and power. School bullying is also a form of abuse.
As observed by the World Report on Violence against Children, commissioned by the UN Secretary General, “children with disabilities are at heightened risk of violence for a variety of reasons, ranging from deeply ingrained cultural prejudices to the higher emotional, physical, economic, and social demands that a child’s disability can place on his or her family.”
Impairments often make children appear as ’easy victims’, not only because they may have difficulty in defending themselves or in reporting the abuse, but also because their accounts are often dismissed.
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