Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign

Hands are holding a copy of the Care Act. A child of colour in jeans and red T-shirt stands with his wheelchair user mum, he is leaning into his mum's shoulder.

Find out more about the campaign and what you can do. Easy Read here.

Click on the topics below:

The Disabled Mothers' Rights Campaign, co-ordinated by WinVisible, brings disabled mothers together to:

- Defend our rights to have a family and keep our children.
- Stop cruelty and discrimination from council social services and the family courts taking our children away.  Disabled mums are labelled as “unfit mothers” and accused of harm or neglect when we ask the Council for support.
- Press councils to provide support to keep families together.

The Care Act says we should get support with caring for our children. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities says we have the right to establish a family and be supported.

Our campaign is for non-mothers too.  Despite wanting to have a family, many disabled women do not go ahead with pregnancy for fear of having our babies taken us.

WinVisible is part of the Support Not Separation coalition co-ordinated
by Legal Action for Women.

Our campaign worked with Channel 5 News on a feature broadcast in January 2023. 

For national TV news to focus on discrimination against disabled mothers is a big breakthrough for women’s disability rights and for all mothers up against social services and the family courts, especially those of us who are single, of colour, working class.

Jean and Tye reunited.

January 2023 Tye aged 19 with their mum Jean -- they both suffered forced adoption.  Watch Channel 5 News video (captions available)

Our February 2023 Newsletter announced that since the Channel 5 News coverage, the president of the family court made a speech mentioning support for disabled parents.  There seems to be some improvement in the decisions made by the court in cases of disabled mothers.

In July 2023, we launched the Disabled Mothers' Rights Charter with six demands -- info below.

Tracey has shoulder-length brown hair and is wearing a green shirt with flowers.

In November 2023 -- we had our second Channel 5 News feature. DMRC co-ordinator Tracey Norton was one of three disabled mothers featured on Channel 5 News about the injustices and suffering of having your children taken away if you are wrongly accused of inventing your child's disabilities (Fabricated Induced Illness -- FII), health conditions which in fact are often genetic.  An autistic mother who we invited to be interviewed anonymously, had her autistic son taken and placed in a children's home for four years.  Watch the video here (captions available)

Our stories

Our stories

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We've gathered some stories from disabled mums about our struggles and victories.  We'd love to know about your situation, please get in touch.

Read our experiences of discrimination as mums in different situations, with visible and invisible disabilities, Deaf, blind. . . the prejudices we encounter.  What some mothers have won, despite all the hardships.

A daughter says: “My mum is disabled and some people think negatively because of her wheelchair -- that makes me sad. But I feel good because people around here look up to my mum, I'm really proud of her because she makes lots of things happen".

A mum says: “I am a disabled person, wheelchair user and mother of two children.  My disability never stops me from being a great mother . . . I’ve been able to bring up my two beautiful children, I even pushed my children’s pram with one hand. The experts are us!"

Drawing of a group of various disabled women in a circle holding their arms up and holding hands.
Charter of Rights

 Charter of Rights

A diverse array of people, mainly women, in a meeting hall, some seated at the front, are smiling and some are making the power salute, in front of the Disabled Mothers' Rights Campaign banner.
People at the launch at the Crossroads Women's Centre and on Zoom

On 12 July 2023, we launched our Disabled Mother's Rights Charter
-- read our six demands here. Launch event info Easy Read of event here

To endorse the Charter, contact us on mumsrights@winvisible.org

Why are we campaigning

Why are we campaigning?

Read more here: Why are we campaigning? 

Screenshot 2024-01-25 at 10.30.49
Contact us, get involved

Contact us, get involved

Email: mumsrights@winvisible.org

WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities),

Crossroads Women's Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX (map)

Tel: 020 7482 2496

Follow us on Twitter @WinVisibleWomen and @NotSeparation

What you can do

Help us gather information about the discrimination we face as
disabled mums.

If you are part of a group, get in touch and we can visit you on Zoom
about the campaign, discuss what you can do in your borough and
area.

Sign up to our Campaign: we welcome endorsements from
organisations and professionals.

Professionals are welcome to contribute your experience and
suggestions.

Family Court Picket with Support Not Separation

Family Court Picket

image-4

Take part with us at the monthly picket of the Central Family Court,
held by Support Not Separation.

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When: First Wednesday of every month

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Time: 12.30pm-1.30pm

Where: outside Central Family Court, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP (map)

Online: Twitter storm @WinVisibleWomen @NotSeparation at the same time.

Next dates: 7 Feb & 6 March 2024

Our latest news

Our latest news

Two drawings: hands hold a copy of the Care Act. A disabled mum sits in her wheelchair, her son is standing next to her leaning into her shoulder.
Title image of the Family Court Crisis Unconference with white on black writing and drawing of a child sitting with head on knees.

February 2024 -- The government's insulting Disability Action Plan 2024.  WinVisible and the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign (DMRC) took part in the consultation last year, here's our response.

January 2023 -- What is the family court "crisis"? Anne Neale from Support Not Separation and Tracey Norton from the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign (DMRC)/WinVisible spoke about “What is the family court “crisis”? Watch here on YouTube (captions).

WinVisible women holding our banner and placards at a protest against care charges.

December 2023 -- our open letter to Brent Council for their consultation highlights the impact of increased homecare charges on disabled mothers and disabled women at risk of domestic violence.

Image for meeting End Torture of disabled people in residential 'care' settings. A Black woman is speaking into a megaphone standing next to Big Ben, Parliament.

11 December -- Claire from WinVisible/Disabled Mothers' Rights Campaign spoke at the End torture of disabled people in residential 'care' settings meeting in Portcullis House, Parliament.  Disability News Service reported: "WinVisible said mothers who were part of the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign had had their children taken away and placed in abusive institutions. . . . "Today, more children are in care than ever. Councils take children from low-income single mothers, disabled mothers, from care leavers, and women who report domestic violence. Children of colour and/or disabled children are disproportionately targetted."

Photo of Jodey Whiting. She has blond hair and is smiling.

November 2023 -- Justice for Jodey.  We have supported Joy Dove in her campaign for justice for her daughter Jodey Whiting, a disabled mother who tragically committed suicide after being cut off disability benefit for "failure to attend" a reassessment interview.  Joy won her legal challenge for a second inquest, now begun in Teeside, to investigate the responsibility of the DWP in Jodey's suicide. Our Disabled Mothers' Rights Charter demands: "Mothers, overwhelmingly the primary carers, must never be cut off benefits."

Tracey has shoulder-length brown hair and is wearing a green shirt with flowers.

November 2023 -- Channel 5 News feature. DMRC co-ordinator Tracey Norton was one of three disabled mothers featured on Channel 5 News about the injustices and suffering of having your children taken away after you are wrongly accused of inventing your children's disabilities (Fabricated Induced Illness -- FII), which in fact are often genetic.  Watch the video here (captions available).

Publicity

Publicity

What we have done

What we have done 

Orange banner with white writing. Disabled Mothers' Rights Campaign -- to have and keep our kids. Drawing based on the wheelchair user symbol. A mum using a wheelchair lifts her baby up to her face. They are looking at each other.

Testimonies, lobbying and evidence to policy-makers -- more info

Practical help

Practical help

Help with your case? If you need support, let us know and we can help you find support.

Visit the Self-help guide by Support Not Separation and advice on what
to do if your case is urgent. The guide includes advice applicable to all
mums, and some information specifically for disabled mums.

Legal Action for Women holds regular self-help meetings for mothers
and other primary carers facing children's social services and family
court problems. For more info, email sns@legalactionforwomen.net

Resources
We work with other groups that offer support and resources for
disabled mums. These include:

Blind Parents UK group for blind parents and carers to support each
other and share information. For example, how to pull a buggy.

A woman with a cane is pulling a buggy behind her. She is wearing a high-vis jacket.
Philippa Lomas of Blind Parents UK shows how to pull and steer a buggy behind you.

Thank you to our funder

Trust for London logo. A blue squiggle representing the River Thames. Byline: Tackling poverty and inequality.
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