Denial To Justice
Paradoxically, while women and girls with disabilities were highly vulnerable to crimes of sexual violence and society fully aware, there was minimal legal redress provided to bring the perpetrators to book. When a woman and or girl with disabilities is abused; in most cases the family shields the person and if not related, can be taken to local council leaders or the police who are always reluctant to imprison the person. They always prefer a reconciliatory approach or someone can be chased away.
Women and girls with disabilities, especially those with visual impairment are denied justice by the evidence act in Uganda which only allows evidence by seeing and not hearing or feeling.
A case in point is Emmanuel from Lugazi town in Central Uganda whom acid was poured on by his friend. When the case was taken to court, Emmanuel requested the magistrate to give his evidence by identifying the culprit through feeling and hearing the voice which the magistrate rejected. The magistrate’s argument was that there was no evidence law which accepted identification of the suspect by hearing or feeling.
The suspect was then set free and Emmanuel is blind to date.
Furthermore, women and girls with disabilities find difficulties in accessing justices because of the inaccessible physical structures of the court premises which can not allow women with physical disabilities to report cases of gender based violence in local council courts or magistrate courts.
There is also communication difficulties between the court officials and deaf women including women and girls with intellectual disabilities. This is because there are no sign language interpreters in courts. A case in point is a deaf woman from Lira district in Northern Uganda who had gone to the police to report a man who had raped her but because of communication difficulties, the police did not help her and she went back home disappointed.