Our Work: Access to Justice

  • January 30, 2017 Women Enabled International Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings on Domestic Violence and Infanticide Regarding Women and Girls with Disabilities.

    On January 30, 2017, WEI responded to a call for submissions by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Killing to support the Special Rapporteur’s efforts to incorporate a gender-sensitive approach to extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary killing into her work. WEI’s submission provides information on the high rates of domestic violence that women and girls with disabilities face, and the lack of access to justice—factors that can elevate the risk of domestic violence escalating and leading to arbitrary killing. The submission also identifies factors that contribute to heightened rates of infanticide of children, and especially girls, with disabilities. The submission urges the Special Rapporteur to consider how different characteristics, such as disability, intersect with gender to expose women and girls to a heightened risk of arbitrary killings. The submission also identifies core state obligations to address the underlying factors that contribute to a heightened risk of women and girls with disabilities to arbitrary killings, including stigma, a lack of support for individuals with disabilities and their families, and issues surrounding access to protective and rehabilitative services and justice mechanisms for victims of gender-based violence with disabilities. The submission also highlights the challenges presented by the lack of disaggregated data on violence, femicide, and infanticide directed at women and girls with disabilities.



  • April 9, 2014 DAWN-RAFH Canada working to increase access to justice for women with disabilities and deaf women who are victims of crime In recognition of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week April 6-12, the DisAbled Women's Network of Canada / Réseau d'action des femmes handicapées (DAWN-RAFH Canada) is launching a campaign aimed at informing women with disabilities and Deaf women about their right to report abuse and to have their abusers tried in court. Entitled "We Can Tell and We Will" the campaign includes a Public Service Announcement (PSA) which depicts two women with intellectual disabilities and one with a communication difference describing abuse and stating that abuse is unacceptable. The PSA encourages women with disabilities to report abuse and informs them that there are advocates who can support them to do so. The campaign is designed to bring attention to the precedent-setting decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, a court case referred to as the D.A.I. case. It involved a woman with an intellectual disability who reported that her step-father had sexually assaulted her. The provincial court disallowed her testimony on the grounds that she was not competent to testify because she could not demonstrate that she understood the meaning of an "oath" or a "promise" in order to tell the truth. As a result, the accused was acquitted.

    Read the press release in English here
    Lire la suite du communiqué ici français
  • February 2013 Read Women Enabled's submission to the CEDAW Committee for its 18 February 2013 General discussion on Access to Justice for women. Women Enabled calls on the CEDAW Committee to address access to justice for women and girls with disabilities as it elaborates a General recommendation on access to justice for women. Read Women Enabled's submission, click here.
  • Spring 2011 PDF: Ortoleva, Stephanie. "Inaccessible Justice: Human Rights, Persons with Disabilities and the Legal System." ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 17.2 (2011).  
  • September 2012 Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development: Generating Innovative Legal Solutions to Development ChallengesPersons with disabilities are often denied access to fair and equal treatment within justice systems.

    – Current practices and challenges in access to justice by persons with disabilities.

    – Emerging good practices that ensure fair and equal treatment.

    – Proposal for a multi-stakeholder knowledge-exchange forum to promote Article 13.

    – Co-sponsored by Women Enabled, the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development and many others.
       PDF: View the event flyer

  • July 2011 Read UN Women’s Report entitled “Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice.” (10MB PDF)

View this page in another language

Share this page

Contact WEI:
Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.,

President and Founder

Women Enabled International, Inc.
1875 Connecticut Ave NW, 10th Floor
Washingon D.C. 20009


twitter @WomenEnabled
Women Enabled International facebook
Stephanie Ortoleva on linkedin
Women Enabled International on linkedin