Closing the Justice Gap for Women with Intellectual & Psychosocial Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific

UN Women

Project Summary

Persons with disabilities, particularly those with  psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, have historically been denied equal access to justice, based on questions of their capacity, resulting in discrimination and serious consequences for their life, rights and freedoms. Legal frameworks limit the right to act on and exercise legal capacity; they face stigma from justice actors; and they lack accessible information and judicial support systems, among other things. 

Women with disabilities face additional and significant barriers to accessing justice due to discrimination on the basis of both their gender and disability. They are disproportionately excluded from legal protection and are more likely to have their credit questioned owing to harmful gender norms and disability stereotypes. Such barriers not only limit the ability of women with disabilities to use the justice system, but also limit their ability to contribute to the administration of justice to society as a whole. A number of international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) affirm and underpin the right of women with disabilities to access justice. 

Despite the increasing focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and the advocacy work of disabled persons’ organisations, legal frameworks, justice pathways for access to justice for women with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities have not been sufficiently advanced to deliver on commitments under the CRPD and CEDAW. There remains a need to develop a deeper understanding of the legal needs of women with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities, to better inform prevention of legal problems, support of justice journeys and a responsive justice sector. For this reason, the project seeks to build new evidence and generate knowledge through research on the legal needs of women with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. 

Project Objectives

The project will: 

 A)    Undertake legal needs surveys in the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia and Fiji, to identify the legal needs of women with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities 

 B)    Conduct research and consultations to identify gaps in institutional structures, support services, legislation, court rules and procedures that prevent justice mechanisms from fully implementing the rights of women with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities.

 C)    Informed by the legal needs survey results, as well as analysis of the justice frameworks and mechanisms within priority countries, provide research and recommendations to enhance access to justice for women with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. 

 Eligibility Criteria

 Respondents to this survey must:  

  • Identify as a woman over the age of majority (18 years old)  
  • Be resident in relevant country (Indonesia, Nepal, Fiji, or the Philippines
  • Identify as having an intellectual disability and/or psychosocial disability OR have been identified by service professionals as having additional support needs  

Please note: all survey responses will be anonymous. 

How to Take Part

Before completing the legal needs survey, we recommend you inform yourself by reading our participant information sheet and consent form, as well as our supporters’ guide and/or guidance for completing the form online (where applicable).

 All of the above documents are available in English here.

 The survey is now open. The deadline for submissions is close of business on Friday 11thNovember 2022. 

 Filling Out the Legal Needs Survey: 

The survey and documents  are available in:

You can access hard copies above, or fill out the online version in your preferred language/format by clicking below. 

 Contact Information

If you would like help filling out the survey, or have questions about the project, please get in touch with the team:

Research Assistants: Emily Williams ( or April Parker (

Principal Investigators: Dr. Anna Arstein-Kerslake ( or Prof. Eilionóir Flynn (