Empowering special schools to protect students from sexual violence and HIV/AIDS

The ILO conducted a validation training of trainers for teachers of disabled students to prevent sexual violence against and promote HIV awareness for students with disabilities, particularly students with intellectual disabilities.

News | Yogyakarta, Indonesia | 17 February 2021
The National Women Rights Commission recorded 89 cases of violence among women with disabilities in 2019, consisting of 64 percent sexual violence, 20 percent psychological violence, 9 percent economic violence and 7 percent physical violence. Sexual violence is found to be the highest among women with disabilities, particularly women with physical disabilities and with intellectual disabilities. They are found to be more vulnerable to experience sexual violence compared to other types of disabilities.

Students with disabilities (c) Madiun Pos
The sexual violence among people with disabilities makes them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. At the provincial level, the Center for Improving Qualified Activity in Live of People with Disability (CIQAL), an NGO deals with disability issues, has documented 102 sexual violence cases among women with disabilities in Yogyakarta for the past five years. In addition, the Yogyakarta Provincial Health Office has documented 22 HIV cases among people with disabilities.

The Provincial Government of Yogyakarta has incorporated disability empowerment programme into its Strategy and Action Plan for 2021-2025. This programme focuses on peer educators for people with disabilities within and outside school environment."

Drs. Riswanto, M.Si, the Secretary for Yogyakarta Provincial AIDS Commission
Drs. Riswanto, M.Si, the Secretary for Yogyakarta Provincial AIDS Commission, emphasized the urgent need to take actions against rising cases of sexual violence and HIV among people with disabilities. “Therefore, the Provincial Government of Yogyakarta has incorporated disability empowerment programme into its Strategy and Action Plan for 2021-2025. This programme focuses on peer educators for people with disabilities within and outside school environment,” said Riswanto.

To date, there are 40 trained peer educators. “We will continue to expand this programme and will collaborate extensively with relevant stakeholders from governmental institutions, NGOs, disability communities and so forth,” he added.

As a response to this commitment, the ILO conducted an adaptation of HIV/AIDS training module for people with disability. The module consists of the following topic: know your rights, basic reproductive health, violence and sexual harassment, basic HIV/AIDS information, HIV/AIDS myths and facts, HIV/AIDS and productivity, and access to violence and HIV/AIDS services.

Why do we focus on teachers for this training of trainers? Because teachers are the front liners who work closely with students with disabilities, particularly students with intellectual disabilities, on a daily basis."

Early Dewi Nuriana, ILO’s programme coordinator for HIV prevention
The adaption was continued with the validation training of trainers (ToT) for teachers of students with disabilities for three days from 9 to 11 February. Attended by 20 teachers from various special schools, the ToT aimed to raise the awareness on HIV/AIDS and preventive actions against violence and harassment.

“Why do we focus on teachers for this training of trainers? Because teachers are the front liners who work closely with students with disabilities, particularly students with intellectual disabilities, on a daily basis. Teachers have an important role in the lives of their students and they can integrate the awareness raising programme in their daily teaching and learning sessions,” said Early Dewi Nuriana, ILO’s programme coordinator for HIV prevention.

The topics covered in the awareness raising include reproductive health, sexual violence and HIV vulnerability among youth with disabilities. In addition to awareness raising, teachers also include sessions on soft skills so that students can further learn about what they can do to protect themselves.

Through this validation ToT, the adapted manual will be integrated and incorporated into the curriculum of special schools for disabilities in Yogyakarta area."

Ir Eddy Wahyudi, M.Pd, the Chief of Special Education Division of Yogyakarta Provincial Education, Youth and Sport Office
“These soft skills sessions are as important as the informative sessions. By learning and by understanding how to apply the knowledge they have, we hope to better empower these students so that when they have to engage with a broader community or enter the world of work they know what their rights are, they can protect themselves and prevent them to experience violence and harassment,” added Early.

Based on responses and feedbacks from the participating teachers, the adapted manual would be validated and finalized in terms of curriculum, contents, methodology, delivery messages as well as the usage of suitable supporting media for persons with intellectual disabilities.

“Through this validation ToT, the adapted manual will be integrated and incorporated into the curriculum of special schools for disabilities in Yogyakarta area,” stated Ir Eddy Wahyudi, M.Pd, the Chief of Special Education Division of Yogyakarta Provincial Education, Youth and Sport Office.

To reach all types of disabilities, a brief handbook for student is planned to be published in braille.