The voices of adults and children with disabilities who have experienced violence and abuse are slowly beginning to surface in the public domain. Segregated residential institutions run by religious congregations appear to be dangerous places for children with disabilities and perceived differences according to the former residents, speaking and communicating to us today as adults in Ireland. A statutory Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in Ireland attracted important numbers of former residents – witnesses – who recounted appalling experiences of violence as children. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities contains articles concerning the prevention of cruelty, sexual assault, violence and acts of humiliation that may be useful for countries like Ireland which have been unable to ratify the Convention. The protection of children with disabilities requires legal reform in Ireland, statutory licensing, monitoring and inspection of the segregated centres where children with disabilities are living.
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