Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) has held a stakeholders’ consultative meeting to improve access to justice for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The Executive Director of DRAC, Dr. Irene Ojiugo Patrick-Ogbogu said the meeting was part of activities under Project Policy to Practice (P2P) to sensitize stakeholders on the findings of the accessibility audit of justice facilities.

She said the engagement also provided an avenue to sensitize stakeholders on the concept of universal design and to collate information on accessibility needs of persons with disabilities accessing justice facilities.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director said that the essence of the meeting was to present to the stakeholders in the disability community, the findings from DRAC’s accessibility audit conducted in 2017 and sensitize them on the concept of universal design as well as harvest their input on the modifications that will assist DRAC to engage with duty bearers and justice sector service providers to make some of these facilities accessible and their services disability inclusive.

She said a recent audit of services available to survivors of violence, persons with disabilities lack access in the multi-spectral services of Health, Social and Criminal Justice Services, revealed that in the event of any experience of violence against women and girls with disabilities, they are unable to access justice.

According to her, none of the courts and police stations had a disability policy, disability focal points or considered the communication needs of persons with disabilities.

She said participants understood the details of the accessibility audit which considered environmental, institutional, attitudinal and communication barriers in health, social and criminal justice facilities, while a presentation also made by ED, DRAC on Universal Design which is a design in building that meets the needs of everybody.

Participants were then grouped into three with the task of identifying modifications for improving access to Police services, Court services, and services of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs).

Groups working in consideration of diverse disabilities, made recommendations on the modifications from the entrance, Lobby/Reception, Corridors, Elevators, Offices/Rooms, Toilets, Equipment and Furniture, ICT, Colour philosophy, Communication/Attitudes, website accessibility, Languages, sign, symbols and stands and Personnel.

The Executive Director said these inputs would be developed into an advocacy tool that would be used to engage with duty bearers.

Participants at the meeting include leaders of OPDs from different disability clusters, (the blind, the Deaf, persons with albinism and persons with physical disabilities).

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