We Matter Too – Disabled Young People and Domestic Abuse

We Matter Too Disabled Young People and Domestic Abuse

We Matter Too! is a project that addresses the needs of disabled young people facing domestic abuse.

The project was funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation as part of a series of projects looking at domestic violence.

It explored gaps in domestic abuse service provisions and awareness of practitioners working with disabled young people, as identified by SafeLives and Women’s Aid. ACT, in partnership with Anita Franklin at Coventry University, carried out work that specifically addresses the needs of young disabled people.

We sought the views of young people and of staff working in domestic abuse services. So we invited disabled young people to explore their understanding of domestic abuse, disability, and services, We asked for their opinions on how to support the development of positive practice.

As part of the project, we have spoken to a range of young people both individually and in groups.

We interviewed more than 30 practitioners from a wide range of national, strategic and front-line services focusing on disability and domestic abuse.

Goals and Aims

The We Matter Too! project aims to:

  • Improve responses to young disabled people who are experiencing domestic abuse.
  • Make disabled young people safer, and improve practice.
  • Change cultures and help workers to challenge.
  • Help young disabled people recognise their rights to safety, and to access the help they need when they are not safe.
  • Give a voice to the experiences of young disabled people.

Why This Matters

Disabled people are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than non-disabled people. But they are less visible in services.

Disabled young people face 3.4 times more risks of harm and abuse. So what would 3.4 times more work look like to keep them safe?

We want to help all professionals reflect on the extent to which their services address the abuse of disabled young people in relationships. We’re inviting you to think about the role you can play to help disabled young people learn about healthy relationships, and their rights to help and support.

This is an exciting opportunity to raise awareness of the increased risks of domestic abuse faced by disabled young people. The practice research explores the links between abuse in and outside the home. It also touches on themes including isolation, dependence, power, and control.

We Matter Too Sarah Champion

We Matter Too! Parliamentary Launch

We launched our We Matter Too! Project at Portcullis House, Westminster, on 2 July 2019.

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, hosted our launch. She has worked tirelessly to address sexual exploitation and abuse.

Other speakers included:

  • Jess Phillips, MP
  • Jane Evans, SafeLives
  • Fay Maxted, Survivors Trust
  • Lisa Scivetti, manager, refuge for women with learning disabilities
  • Sue Ready, NIDAS

Sam Baker of Sign Health signed her presentation on behalf of Deaf Hope, who work with deaf young survivors of domestic abuse.

We hope the project will encourage discussion and debate about policy, adult-children’s service collaboration, front-line practice and reach.

We want to start a conversation about how services can become more accessible to marginalised young people.

Want to read the We Matter Too report? We’ll upload it once it’s ready for publication, so watch this space.