Recommendation Rec(2006)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society

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3.4. Action line No. 4: Education
3.4.1. Introduction
Education is a basic factor in ensuring social inclusion and independence for all people, including those with disabilities. Social influences, for example from families and friends, also contribute, but for the purposes of this action line education shall cover all stages of life, including pre-school, primary, secondary, high school education and professional training, as well as life-long learning. The creation of opportunities for disabled people to participate in mainstream education is not only important for disabled people but will also benefit non-disabled people’s understanding of human diversity. Most education systems provide access to mainstream education and specialised educational structures for disabled people, as appropriate. Mainstream and specialised structures should be encouraged to work together to support disabled people in their local communities, but this should be consistent with the goal of full inclusion.
3.4.2. Objectives
i. To ensure that all persons, irrespective of the nature and degree of their impairment, have equal access to education, and develop their personality, talents, creativity and their intellectual and physical abilities to their full potential;
ii. to ensure that disabled people have the opportunity to seek a place in mainstream education by encouraging relevant authorities to develop educational provision to meet the needs of their disabled population;
iii. to support and promote lifelong learning for disabled people of all ages and facilitate efficient and effective transitions between each phase of their education and between education and employment;
iv. to foster at all levels of the educational system, including in all children from an early age, an attitude of respect for the rights of people with disabilities.
3.4.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To promote legislation, policies and planning to prevent discrimination against children, young people and adults with disabilities in the access to all phases of their education from early years through to adult provision. In doing so, consult with disabled users, parents, and carers, voluntary organisations, and other relevant professional bodies, if appropriate;
ii. to encourage and support the development of a unified education system, including mainstream and specialised educational provision, which promotes the sharing of expertise and greater inclusion of disabled children, young people and adults in the community;
iii. to enable the early appropriate assessment of the special educational needs of disabled children, young people and adults to inform their educational provision and planning;
iv. to monitor the implementation of individual education plans and facilitate a co-ordinated approach to education provision throughout and towards employment;
v. to ensure that people with disabilities, including children, receive the support required, within the mainstream education system, to facilitate their effective education. In exceptional circumstances, where their professionally-assessed special education needs are not met within the mainstream education system, member states will ensure that effective alternative support measures are provided consistent with the goal of full inclusion. All special and mainstream provisions should encourage the transition to mainstream education and reflect the same goals and standards;
vi. to encourage the development of initial and ongoing training for all professionals and staff working across all phases of education to incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate educational techniques and materials to support disabled pupils and students where appropriate;
vii. to ensure that all educational material and schemes provided through the general educational system are accessible to persons with disabilities;
viii. to include, in school civic education syllabuses, subjects relating to people with disabilities as people who have the same rights as all other citizens;
ix. to ensure that disability awareness is a key part of education programmes in mainstream schools and institutions;
x. to take steps to make places of education and training accessible for persons with disabilities, including by the provision of personal support and of reasonable adjustments (including equipment) to meet their needs;
xi. to ensure that parents of disabled children are active partners in the process of the development of the individualised education plans of their children;
xii. to ensure access to non-formal education allowing disabled youth to develop needed skills otherwise unattainable through formal education;
xiii. to consider, where appropriate, signing and ratifying the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163), in particular Article 15.
3.5. Action line No. 5: Employment, vocational guidance and training
3.5.1. Introduction
Employment is a key element for the social inclusion and economic independence of all citizens of working age. Compared to non-disabled persons, the employment and activity rates of disabled people are very low. Policies to increase the activity rate need to be diversified – according to the employment potential of disabled people – and comprehensive, in order to address all the barriers to participation in the workforce. Improving the employment situation of disabled people would not only benefit the disabled persons but also employers and society as a whole.
Vocational guidance and assistance play an important role in helping people to identify activities for which they are best suited and to guide training needs or future occupation. It is vital that people with disabilities have access to assessments, vocational guidance and training to ensure they can attain their potential.
This action line seeks to form the basis for greater participation of persons with disabilities in employment, to ensure career choices and to lay the foundations through structures and support in order to ensure real choices. All measures apply to public as well as private employers.
Social enterprises (for example social firms, social co-operatives) as part of the open employment, or sheltered workshops may contribute to the employment of disabled persons.
3.5.2. Objectives
i. To promote the employment of people with disabilities within the open labour market by combining anti-discrimination and positive action measures in order to ensure that people with disabilities have equality of opportunity;
ii. to tackle discrimination and promote participation of people with disabilities in vocational assessment, guidance, training, and employment-related services.
3.5.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To mainstream issues relating to the employment of people with disabilities in general employment policies;
ii. to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to an objective and individual assessment which:

– identifies their options regarding potential occupations;

– shifts the focus from assessing disabilities to assessing abilities and relating them to specific job requirements;

– provides the basis for their programme of vocational training;

– helps them find appropriate employment or re-employment;
iii. to ensure that people with disabilities have access to vocational guidance, training and employment-related services at the highest possible qualification level, and making reasonable adjustments where necessary;
iv. to ensure protection against discrimination in all stages of employment, including selection and recruitment, as well as in all measures related to career progression;
v. to encourage employers to employ people with disabilities by:

– applying recruitment procedures (for example advertising, interview, assessment, selection) which ensure that job opportunities are positively made available to people with disabilities;

– making reasonable adjustments to the workplace or working conditions, including telecommuting, part-time work and work from home, in order to accommodate the special requirements of employees with disabilities;

– increasing the disability awareness of management and staff through relevant training;

vi. to ensure that general self-employment schemes are accessible and supportive to people with disabilities;
vii. to ensure that support measures, such as sheltered or supported employment, are in place for those people whose needs cannot be met without personal support in the open labour market;
viii. to support people with disabilities to progress from sheltered and supported employment to open employment;
ix. to remove disincentives to work in disability benefit systems and encourage beneficiaries to work when they can;
x. to consider the needs of women with disabilities when devising programmes and policies related to equal opportunities for women in employment, including childcare;
xi. to ensure that employees with disabilities enjoy the same rights as other employees in relation to consultation on employment conditions and membership and active participation in trade unions;
xii. to provide effective measures to encourage the employment of people with disabilities;
xiii. to ensure that health and safety legislation and regulations include the needs of persons with disabilities and do not discriminate against them;
xiv. to promote measures, including legislative and integration management, that enable persons who become disabled while employed to stay within the labour market;
xv. to ensure that especially young disabled people can benefit from employment internships and traineeships in order to build skills and from information on employment practices;
xvi. to consider, where appropriate, signing and ratifying the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163), in particular Article 15;
xvii. to implement Resolution ResAP(95)3 on a charter on the vocational assessment of people with disabilities.

3.6. Action line No. 6: The built environment
3.6.1. Introduction
The overarching aim is to create a society for all. An accessible environment has a key role to play in creating a more inclusive society where people with disabilities can participate in daily life. Existing barriers in the built environment hinder or prevent disabled persons from such participation and enjoyment of fundamental rights. Making the environment accessible to persons with disabilities, irrespective of type of disability, would additionally benefit all members of society. This requires an understanding of existing barriers, including attitudes and physical barriers, and a commitment to removing these through positive actions and other measures. The Resolution ResAP(2001)1 on Universal Design promotes the introduction of the principles of universal design into the curricula of all occupations working on the built environment, including architects, engineers, town planners and all other relevant professions and occupations working on or with the built environment. It also aims to simplify life for everyone by making the built environment more accessible, usable and understandable.
3.6.2. Objective
To progressively establish an environment accessible to people with disabilities by applying the principles of Universal Design, thus avoiding the creation of new barriers.
3.6.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To ensure that all relevant policy areas include the overarching aim of creating a barrier-free built environment;
ii. to develop guidelines and standards, and if necessary legislation, to promote public buildings, and public indoor as well as outdoor environments to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, taking into account the specific nature of historic buildings;
iii. to ensure that universities and institutions responsible for the training of all occupations working on the built environment (such as architects and town planners, professionals in the construction sector, cultural heritage conservators and cultural tourism specialists) promote the principle of universal design through curricula for initial and further training and other appropriate means;
iv. to promote the use of assistive devices and technological innovations in order to improve the accessibility of the built environment and give persons with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in community life. Such practices should be applied to new constructions and progressively extended to existing buildings;
v. to support the creation, nomination, and maintenance of centres that promote the concept of Universal Design;
vi. to ensure that due attention is paid to the safety of people with disabilities when designing emergency and evacuation procedures;
vii. to ensure that access to buildings and public areas is not barred to assistive animals accompanying persons with disabilities;
viii. to implement Resolution ResAP(2001)1 on the introduction of the principles of Universal Design into the curricula of all occupations working on the built environment.
3.7. Action line No. 7: Transport
3.7.1. Introduction
The development and implementation of accessible transport policies at all levels can result in a substantial improvement in the quality of life of many people with disabilities and can be a prerequisite to achieving equality of opportunity, independent living and active participation in the community social and cultural life as well as employment.
Many member states will already be aware of or party to developments through the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) and the principles and actions promoted through that forum can guide progress by member states in implementing this Disability Action Plan. The resulting accessible transport services will benefit other transport users including the elderly and parents with young children.
In order to ensure that disabled people can benefit from public transport, it is vital that the whole transport chain be accessible.
3.7.2. Objectives
i. To enhance the participation of persons with disabilities in society through the implementation of accessible transport policies;
ii. to ensure that accessible transport policies are implemented taking account of the needs of all persons with different kinds of impairments and disabilities;
iii. to promote the accessibility of existing passenger transport services for all persons with disabilities, and ensure that all new transport services and related infrastructure be accessible;
iv. to promote the implementation of the principle of universal design in the transport sector.
3.7.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To take account of the recommendations, reports and guidelines developed and agreed by international bodies, particularly in relation to the development of standards, guidelines, strategies and, if appropriate, legislation, to ensure the accessibility of transport services and infrastructure including the built environment;
ii. to monitor and review the implementation of accessible transport policies;
iii. to ensure that public transport operators include mandatory disability awareness training as part of the standard training courses for persons engaged in transport service provision;
iv. to promote the introduction and adoption of national guidelines for accessible transport service provision for use by both public and private transport operators;
v. to establish procedures for co-operation and consultation with the relevant stakeholders including in particular relevant government agencies, service providers and disability interest groups to inform policy development and planning in relation to accessible transport provision;
vi. to promote and encourage private transport service operators to provide accessible services;
vii. to ensure that information on public transport services be made accessible as far as possible in diverse formats and through diverse communication systems to cater for people with disabilities;
viii. to encourage the design of innovative programmes which support disabled people who experience difficulties in using public transport to utilise their own private transport;
ix. to ensure that assistive animals (for example guide dogs) accompanying people with disabilities are accommodated in public transport;
x. to ensure the provision and protection of parking facilities for disabled people with reduced mobility;
xi. to recognise the specific requirements of people with disabilities when devising general fundamental texts on passenger rights;
xii. to protect through legislation disabled people from discrimination in accessing transport;
xiii. to ensure that transport safety and emergency procedures do not create additional inequalities for people with disabilities.
3.8. Action line No. 8: Community living
3.8.1. Introduction
This action line focuses on enabling people with disabilities to live as independently as possible, empowering them to make choices on how and where they live. This requires strategic policies which support the move from institutional care to community-based settings ranging from independent living arrangements to small group homes. Such policies should be flexible, covering programmes which enable persons with disabilities to live with their families and recognising the specific needs of individuals with disabilities requiring a high level of support.
In general, a family’s day-to-day life differs considerably depending whether or not it has a child with a disability: guidance and care, for instance, take up a great deal of time, visits to therapists, doctors, etc., are necessary, the child needs supervision in recreational activities and assistance with the practical aspects of daily living, etc. It is important that parents of children with disabilities can have access to suitable training enabling them to acquire the requisite proficiencies to lead a life as close as possible to normal with their disabled child.
Full independent living may not be a possibility or a choice for all individuals. In exceptional cases, care in small, quality structures should be encouraged as an alternative to living in an institution. The design of independent living arrangements should involve people with disabilities and their representative organisations.
Disabled people living in the community have different needs that require different levels of care, assistance and support. Transparent eligibility criteria and independent individual assessment procedures, which take into account disabled persons’ own choice, autonomy and welfare, will promote equitable access to services.
Independent living policies are not just confined to living arrangements, but are also dependent on the accessibility of a broad range of services, including transport. The success of such policies requires a mainstream approach to the planning, development and delivery of mainstream services to ensure they also respond to the needs of individuals with disabilities with cross-agency support to ensure a co-ordinated approach.
3.8.2. Objectives
i. To enable people with disabilities to plan their life and live as independently as possible in their community;
ii. to provide a broad range of quality support services at community level in order to allow for freedom of choice;
iii. to pay special attention to the situation of families that have a child/children with disabilities and advocate an approach that accommodates training for parents concerned, as well as to disabled parents and their participation in child-care and education tasks.
3.8.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To ensure a co-ordinated approach in the provision of community-based quality support services to enable people with disabilities to live in their communities and enhance their quality of life;
ii. to develop and promote housing policies which enable people with disabilities to live in suitable housing in their local community;
iii. to support formal and informal help, making it possible for people with disabilities to live at home;
iv. to recognise the status of carers, by providing them with support and relevant training;
v. to have the needs of families as providers of informal care thoroughly assessed, especially those with children with disabilities or caring for persons in need of a high level of support, with a view to providing information, training and assistance, including psychological support, to enable life within the family, paying particular attention to the reconciliation of private and professional life and to gender equality;
vi. to ensure community-based quality service provision and alternative housing models, which enable a move from institution-based care to community living;
vii. to ensure that individuals can make informed choices with the assistance, when appropriate, of a skilled advocacy service;
viii. to promote schemes which will allow disabled people to employ personal assistants of their choice;
ix. to provide complementary services and other facilities, for example day centres, short-stay centres or self-expression groups, offering suitable forms of therapy, to give people with disabilities and their families periods of support and respite;
x. to provide people with disabilities, in particular those in need of a high level of support, with tailored support provision, including advocacy, in order to reduce any risk of social exclusion;
xi. to implement the relevant provisions included in Recommendation No. R (96) 5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on reconciling work and family life.
3.9. Action line No. 9: Health care
3.9.1. Introduction
People with disabilities have the same right as other members of society to good quality health services and relevant treatment and technology to ensure the best possible health. In some cases, disabled people will require special and innovative health care services to improve the quality of their life. Disabled people and their representatives (where necessary) should be consulted and fully involved in the decision-making process regarding their personal care plan. This approach places disabled people at the centre of the planning process and service provision design and empowers the individuals to make informed decisions about their health.
When planning and delivering health care services, account should be taken of developments regarding the ageing population and the related health consequences, particularly for persons with disabilities. It is therefore necessary to give priority to the development of new policies and strategies in the area of health.

Health care professionals in all member states need to acknowledge the social and human rights model of disability and not focus solely on the medical aspect of disability.

3.9.2. Objectives
i. To ensure that all disabled people, regardless of gender, age and origin, nature or degree of impairment:

– have equal access to all health care services;

– benefit from access to available specialised services, as appropriate;

– are as fully involved as possible in the decision-making process of their personal care plan;

ii. to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are included in health education information and public health campaigns.
3.9.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To ensure that no disabled people are discriminated against in access to health care services and medical records;
ii. to ensure that each disabled person, or, where not possible due to the origin, nature or degree of their impairment, their representative, carer or advocate is fully consulted to the maximum possible extent, in the assessment, design and delivery of their health care plan, medical intervention and treatment;
iii. to work towards accessible public and private health service facilities and equipment and ensure that health care services, including mental health, psychological support services and in- and out-patient services are equipped and competent to meet the needs of disabled people;
iv. to ensure that women with disabilities have equal access to health care services, including in particular, ante-natal, gynaecological and family planning advice and treatment;
v. to ensure that gender specific aspects are respected in health care for disabled people;
vi. to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to provide all relevant information regarding an individual’s health care needs or services in a format understandable to the disabled person;
vii. to ensure that notification of the disability, whether it occurs before or after birth or after an illness or accident, is made under conditions guaranteeing respect for the person concerned and the family and ensuring clear, comprehensible information and support for the individual and his or her family;
viii. to provide access to health education and public health campaigns through, amongst others, information and advice for people with disabilities;
ix. to train health care professionals in such a way as to instill disability awareness together with the proficiency and methods for meeting the specific needs of persons with disabilities;
x. to recognise the need for early intervention and thus establish effective measures to detect, diagnose, and treat impairments at an early stage, and also to develop effective guidelines for early detection and intervention measures;
xi. to consider, where appropriate, signing and ratifying the European Social Charter (revised), in particular Article 11.
3.10. Action line No. 10: Rehabilitation
3.10.1. Introduction
The Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation No. R (92) 6 on a coherent policy for people with disabilities recognises that rehabilitation of people with disabilities, by virtue of the economic and social integration it achieves, is a duty of the community, that it guarantees human dignity and alleviates the difficulties stemming from society with which people with disabilities are confronted, and that it should be included among the priority objectives of any society. With respect to this recommendation, a coherent policy for the rehabilitation of people with disabilities should aim at preventing the deterioration of disability, alleviating its consequences, furthering the autonomy of people with disabilities as individuals and ensuring their economic independence and full integration into society. Comprehensive rehabilitation programmes should include a variety of complementary measures, provisions, services and facilities that can considerably contribute to the physical and psychological independence of disabled people.
3.10.2. Objectives
i. To enable people with disabilities to attain their maximum independence and achieve their fullest physical, mental, social, and vocational ability;
ii. to organise, strengthen and extend comprehensive rehabilitation services;
iii. to enable access to mainstream services and specialist provision to enable people with disabilities to achieve full social integration within their communities and societies;
iv. to ensure, in particular, high-quality early intervention, a multi-disciplinary approach, from

birth, including support and guidance for parents.

3.10.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To formulate, implement and regularly review national rehabilitation policies and ensure continuous improvement;
ii. to ensure that people with disabilities, their families and representative organisations contribute to the design of holistic rehabilitation programmes, their delivery and their evaluation;

iii. to ensure that rehabilitation programmes are accessible and tailored to the individual needs of the disabled person; they need the consent of the disabled person or his/her representative;

iv. where possible, to utilise mainstream provision and facilities but also ensure that specialist rehabilitation centres are as fully equipped as possible for the service they provide and have a multidisciplinary team of staff specialising in rehabilitation;
v. to enhance rehabilitation services and support by means of individual multidisciplinary assessment using a holistic approach;
vi. to promote multi-sector collaboration with the involvement of all relevant sectors, especially health, education, social and employment and to provide an integrated rehabilitation management, where necessary to ensure that persons with disabilities have equality of opportunity;
vii. to ensure, during education, that children with disabilities have access to programmes of pedagogical rehabilitation and other resources enabling them to achieve their full potential;
viii. to involve both employers and employees and their organisations in vocational rehabilitation in order to support people who become disabled to return to work at the earliest opportunity;
ix. to work towards the availability of individualised, community-based programmes of rehabilitation for individuals with a disability who so require;
x. to promote the availability and affordability of assistive devices as part of rehabilitative measures/programmes for people with disabilities who so require.
3.11. Action line No. 11: Social protection
3.11.1 Introduction
Social protection includes social security, social assistance or support, and social services, which are vital supports for those dependent on them, as they contribute to the quality of life of their recipients. However, there are many situations in which people with disabilities do not adequately benefit from social protection systems, be it due to the lack of such provisions or due to access difficulties. The social rights enshrined in the revised European Social Charter (ETS No. 163), include in particular the right to social security (Article 12), the right to social and medical assistance (Article 13), and the right to benefit from social welfare services (Article 14). The implementation of these rights helps to reduce the risk of social exclusion and marginalisation and hence contributes to opening access to another right enshrined in the Charter, namely the right of persons with disabilities to independence, social integration and participation in the life of the community (Article 15).
3.11.2 Objectives
i. To provide equal access to social protection for people with disabilities;
ii. to promote policies which progress the shift from financial benefit dependency towards, where possible, employment and independence.
3.11.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To ensure a coherent balance between social protection measures and active employment oriented policies in order to discourage inactive benefit dependency;
ii. to ensure that the allocation of social services and related support is based on a sound, multidisciplinary assessment of the person’s needs, and subject to periodic review;
iii. to ensure that all benefit assessment systems and procedures are accessible to people with disabilities or their representatives;
iv. to ensure that general social services take account of the specific needs of people with disabilities and their families;
v. to ensure that co-ordination between and across administrative departments and public and private providers of social services is continuously improved, so that the provision of quality services meets the needs of people with disabilities;
vi. to consult with social partners and other key actors, including organisations of people with disabilities, in relation to the planning and implementation of social protection policies;
vii. to ensure effective dissemination of information on all the social protection benefits to which people with disabilities could be entitled, with special focus on people with disabilities at risk of social exclusion;
viii. to ensure that social inclusion and anti-poverty strategies recognise the specific needs of people with disabilities;
ix. to consider, where appropriate, signing and ratifying the European Social Charter (revised), the European Code of Social Security (ETS No. 48), the revised European Code of Social Security (ETS No. 139), and the European Convention of Social Security (ETS No. 78);
x. to implement the relevant provisions included in Recommendation Rec(2003)19 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on access to social rights.
3.12. Action line No. 12: Legal protection
3.12.1. Introduction
People with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law. When assistance is needed to exercise that legal capacity, member states must ensure that this is appropriately safeguarded by law.
Persons with disabilities constitute a varied population group, but all have in common, to a greater or lesser extent, the need for additional safeguards in order to enjoy their rights to the full and to participate in society on an equal basis with other members.
The need to focus particular attention on the situation of persons with disabilities, in terms of the exercise of their rights on an equal basis with others, is confirmed by the initiatives taken in this area at national and international level.
The principle of non-discrimination should be the basis of government policies designed to deliver equality of opportunity for people with disabilities.
Access to the legal system is a fundamental right in a democratic society but people with disabilities can often face a number of barriers, including physical access difficulties. This requires a range of measures and positive actions, including general awareness raising among the legal professions about disability issues.
3.12.2. Objectives
i. To ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others;
ii. to protect and promote the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
3.12.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To provide protection against discrimination through the setting up of specific legislative measures, bodies, reporting procedures and redress mechanisms;
ii. to ensure that provisions which discriminate against disabled people are eradicated from mainstream legislation;
iii. to promote training on human rights and disability (both national and international) for law enforcement personnel, public officials, judiciary and medical staff;
iv. to encourage non-governmental advocacy networks working in defence of people with disabilities’ human rights;
v. to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to the judicial system by securing their right to information and communication that are accessible to them;
vi. to provide appropriate assistance to those people who experience difficulty in exercising their legal capacity and ensure that it is commensurate with the required level of support;
vii. to take appropriate measures to ensure that people with disabilities are not deprived of their liberty, except in accordance with the law;
viii. to take effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own and inherit property, providing legal protection to manage their assets on an equal basis to others;
ix. to ensure that no person with a disability is subjected to medical experimentation against their will;
x. to implement the relevant provisions included in the Recommendation No. R (99) 4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on principles concerning the legal protection of incapable adults.
3.13. Action line No. 13: Protection against violence and abuse
3.13.1. Introduction
Acts of abuse or violence against any person are unacceptable and society has a duty to ensure that individuals, particularly the most vulnerable, are protected against such abuse.
There are indications that the rate of abuse and violence committed against persons with disabilities is considerably higher than the rate for the general population, and higher in women with disabilities, particularly women with severe disabilities, where the percentages of abuse far exceed those of non-disabled women. Such abuse can occur in institutions or other types of care and situations, including the family environment. It can be inflicted by strangers or persons known to the individual and can take many forms, for instance verbal abuse, violent actions, or the refusal to meet basic needs.
While governments cannot guarantee that abuse will not happen they must do their utmost to establish protection and the strongest possible safeguards. Prevention can be assisted in many ways, particularly through education to appreciate the rights of individuals to protection and to recognise and reduce the risk of abuse. Persons with disabilities who experience abuse or violence should have access to appropriate supports. They must have a system in which they can have sufficient confidence to report abuse and expect follow-up action, including individual support. Such systems require personnel who are skilled and qualified to detect and respond to situations of abuse.
While there has been some research undertaken in recent years, it is clear that further knowledge is required to inform future strategies and best practice.
3.13.2. Objectives
i. To work within anti-discriminatory and human rights frameworks towards safeguarding people with disabilities against all forms of violence and abuse;
ii. to ensure access for people with disabilities to services and support systems for victims of violence and abuse.
3.13.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To establish safeguards to protect people with disabilities from violence and abuse through the effective implementation of policies and legislation, where necessary;
ii. to promote the availability of and access to training courses for people with disabilities to reduce the risk of violence and abuse, for example courses in self-confidence and empowerment;
iii. to develop processes, measures and protocols adapted to people with disabilities, to improve detection of violence and abuse, and to ensure that the necessary action is taken against perpetrators, including redress and adequate professional counselling in case of emotional problems;
iv. to ensure that disabled victims of violence and abuse, including domestic, have access to the relevant support services, including redress;
v. to prevent and combat violence, ill-treatment and abuse in all situations by supporting families, raising public awareness and education, promoting discussion and co-operation among relevant parties;
vi. to support people with disabilities, in particular women, and their families, in situations of abuse through the provision of information and access to services;
vii. to ensure that systems are in place for the protection against abuse of persons with disabilities in psychiatric facilities, social care homes and institutions, orphanages, and other institutional settings;
viii. to ensure that relevant training is provided to all staff working in disability-specific institutional settings and mainstream support services;
ix. to train police and judicial authorities so that they can receive testimony from disabled people and treat instances of abuse seriously;
x. to provide people with disabilities with information on how to avoid the occurrence of violence and abuse, how to recognise it, and how to report it;
xi. to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures with strong sanctions in a transparent manner and to allow for independent review by civil society in order to prevent all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect and negligent treatment, maltreatment, exploitation or abduction of people with disabilities;
xii. to implement the relevant provisions included in Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of women against violence;
xiii. to implement the relevant provisions included in Recommendation No. R (99) 4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on principles concerning the legal protection of incapable adults;
xiv. to implement Resolution ResAP(2005)1 on safeguarding adults and children with disabilities against abuse, and to take account of the relevant complementary report.2
3.14. Action line No. 14: Research and development
3.14.1. Introduction
Comprehensive research, statistical data collection and analysis inform evidence-based policy design. Reliable information identifies emerging issues, helps to design solutions and deliver effective results. It also identifies best practice and monitors change in society.
The lack of data in relation to people with disabilities is recognised as a barrier to policy development at both national and international levels. We need to encourage and advance comprehensive, diversified and specialised research on all disability issues and co-ordinate it at all levels in order to promote the effective implementation of the objectives set out in this Action Plan.
3.14.2. Objectives
i. To promote more evidence-based policy and standard development by improving the translation of future-oriented research findings into policy;
ii. to harmonise statistical data collection methodology, nationally and internationally, in order to achieve valid and comparable research information;
iii. to use and support all available research and development potential, in a multidisciplinary way, in order to promote the participation of people with disabilities and improve their quality of life.
3.14.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To develop statistical and information strategies for disability policy and standard development based on a social and human rights-based model of disability, and to review the effectiveness of existing national strategies and databases;
ii. to ensure information gained through needs assessments, whilst being treated as confidential on an individual basis, is used to the greatest effect to inform overall service planning and provision at national, regional and local levels;
iii. to ensure that mainstream research, where appropriate, provides data about the participation of people with disabilities, covering all relevant areas of this Action Plan;
iv. to ensure that research, where possible, incorporates a gender dimension facilitating analysis of the situation regarding women with disabilities;
v. to work towards a co-ordinated approach to research by agreeing common classifications leading to evaluation and analysis across national and international databases;
vi. to promote research studies on successful rehabilitation measures aimed at recovery and reintegration in the community;
vii. to promote studies on the effects of demographic changes and the ageing process on the quality of life of people with disabilities;
viii. to involve representatives of persons with disabilities and other relevant stakeholders in the development of research strategy and data gathering;
ix. to support applied scientific research into the design of new information and communication technologies, technical aids, products and devices which can contribute to the independent living and participation of disabled people in society;
x. to encourage all product research to take account of universal design principles;
xi. to promote the exchange of good practice, sharing of information and close

co-operation between relevant bodies to ensure availability of comprehensive data to inform policies;

xii. to commission relevant research and innovative pilot projects to support policy development which covers all the relevant areas of this Action Plan.

3.15. Action line No. 15: Awareness raising
3.15.1. Introduction
People with disabilities face many barriers to their participation and recognition as full and equal members of society. Most disabled people consider society’s attitude to be the biggest barrier to their full integration.

Persons with disabilities are still confronted with unacceptable attitudes based on existing prejudices, fear, low expectations and distrust in their abilities. These attitudes could be changed through effective awareness raising strategies involving a range of stakeholders.

In recent years, many member states have progressed anti-discrimination legislation and have encouraged social policy initiatives. These initiatives are contributing to the integration of disabled people into their local communities but this alone is not enough.
In order to promote their activities, member states should ensure co-operation both in the field of media, and in other fields of activity that could help in bringing about a change in attitudes.
Disabled people need to be present in advertisements, on screen, on radio, and in print to bring about a paradigm shift in the perception of disability and disabled people; a real change in attitudes by all members of society can then become a reality.
Society needs to be made aware of the fact that persons with disabilities have the same human rights as all other people and that there are many barriers in society which hinder or prevent people with disabilities in the enjoyment of these rights. The elimination of these barriers will not only benefit persons with disabilities but society in general. Moreover, it is important to show the positive contribution that all persons with disabilities, regardless of the degree of their disability, make as active and full members of society.
3.15.2. Objectives
i. To improve attitudes towards people with disabilities as active and full members of society through a wide range of actions;
ii. to raise awareness about disability and the rights of people with disabilities to equality of opportunity and protection against discrimination;
iii. to combat any negative attitude against disabled persons that could harm the image and interests of people with disabilities.
3.15.3. Specific actions by member states
i. To mainstream images of disability in all government advertising and publicity to bring about a change of attitudes in society;
ii. to encourage all media and media organisations to increase and improve the portrayal of people with disabilities as full citizens in their media broadcasting and written communications, for example by introducing ethical guidelines related to the dignity of people with disabilities;
iii. to encourage television channels and radio stations to discuss issues relating to persons with disabilities in general programmes and, where appropriate, in specialised programmes;
iv. to undertake, where possible, regular national awareness raising campaigns on the rights, potential and contributions of people with disabilities;
v. to use innovative and other practical means to highlight to children, young people and adults the issues faced by disabled people;
vi. to encourage people with disabilities and their organisations to publicise themselves locally and nationally by making available guidance on dealing with the media;
vii. to support and promote the distribution of examples of good practice in all areas of life to raise awareness in education, working environment and the community.
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