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Empowerment Self Defence for Blind and Vision Impaired

ESD is a holistic, evidence-based framework that helps individuals keep themselves safe against all types of abuse, violence and coercive control in everyday situations.


Australians with disability are more likely than those without disability to have experienced violence, abuse or sexual harassment at some point in their lives. Some people with disability, such as those with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities, are more likely to experience violence.


Many excellent services are available for individuals who experience abuse and violence, such as hotlines, counselling services, emergency accommodation and crisis response. We believe we ALL have a human right to feel safe and live lives free from violence and fear.


Learning self-protection skills empowers the individual and reduces the chance of experiencing trauma and needing life-long therapy and counselling due to being violated. Antonella teaches individuals skills to recognise abuse, violence, red flags, toxic and manipulative behaviours and respond in real-time, reducing the chance that the individual becomes another statistic.

Empowerment Self-Defence (ESD) is a global, holistic, evidence-based primary violence prevention framework taught by Antonella Spatola, a highly trained international female instructor who understands the issues people with disabilities face. Antonella worked for The Royal Blnd Foundation back in the 1990s and more recently with Vision Australia in different roles, including working with Paraolypian Gerrard Gosens teaching Virgin Blue cabin crew how to work with the vision impaired passengers. 

She teaches easy-to-learn skills and techniques to recognise the spectrum of abuse, violence, green, orange and red flags and respond to it by using psychological awareness tools, verbal strategies, and physical methods to prevent becoming a victim of violence. All skills are easy to learn, remember and apply.

Scenarios cover everyday life situations, e.g. work, school, with friends, family, and also worst-case such as sexual assault. ESD is specifically designed with the participant’s ability and needs in mind. Antonella has been teaching NDIS participants for over six years.

We know that not all individuals have the 'same' ability to defend themselves. Still, all individuals are capable of resistance training and learning ESD will increase their confidence and skills.

ESD training allows the participant to experience an integrated approach based on research that points to the benefits of ESD training that shows training can be effective in preventing assault and supports healing compared to those that do not take any activity (J. Hollander & J. Cunningham, 2020).

Antonella empowers NDIS participants through violence prevention education and accessible training programs. Programs are specifically designed to be supportive, sustainable, comprehensive, inclusive, and empowering, with a focus on promoting healing and resiliency through a trauma-informed approach.

Prioritising meaningful collaborations with NDIS participants and community organisations in a coordinated effort is vital to promote urgently needed primary prevention education.

Antonella is committed to enabling individuals to live a life free from fear and violence, supported by evidence-based theory and practice.

Now is the perfect opportunity to implement a training program for your clients to learn skills that will give them the confidence and awareness tools around issues of abuse and violence. You want them to become a victor and not a victim.

If you would like to speak to Antonella about one-on-one or group programs, please reach out by emailing 

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