Disabilities and rehabilitation

WHO issues call for papers: roundtable on violence against people with disabilities

Violence against people with disabilities is an important public health and human rights concern. There is increasing attention to violence against people with disabilities in the United Kingdom and other countries around the world, with increased media reporting on the topic and growing public awareness of hate crime. Additional research is required to better understand the issue.

In line with a public health approach to violence prevention, WHO has commissioned Liverpool John Moores University to produce systematic reviews of data on the prevalence and risk of violence against adults and children with disabilities. Published in The Lancet, the first of these reviews has indicated that adults with disabilities are at much greater risk of violence than adults without disabilities. In fact disabled adults are 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than those without a disability, while those with mental health conditions are at nearly four times the risk of experiencing violence.

The systematic review of violence against children will be published later this year. To inform and improve policy and practice in the field, further research is required to explore risk and protective factors and underlying causes for violence, as well as evidence for interventions which either help prevent violence against people with disabilities in the first place or improve outcomes for victims.

In the context of the Disability Studies Association annual conference in Lancaster, United Kingdom, to be held from 11-13 September 2012, WHO will host a roundtable presenting the evidence from the systematic reviews, together with papers on risk and protective factors and on the evidence for the effectiveness of interventions. In this regard, WHO is issuing a call for papers based on empirical data, whether from quantitative or qualitative social research. Papers which discuss the situation in low-income or middle-income countries will be prioritized. If you are a researcher, policy-maker or practitioner working in this area, and you would like to present a paper on violence or interventions to prevent violence, please contact Tom Shakespeare (shakespearet@who.int). Two bursaries of £500 are available to support participation by researchers from low-income or middle-income countries. The deadline for expressions of interest and abstracts is 16 April 2012.

For further information about the Disability Studies Association annual conference, visit