Womens Support Project

Violence, abuse and learning disabilities

This section offers a selection of helpful resources on violence, abuse and learning disabilities. 

Download a copy of this resource list in pdf format.


It could never happen here! - The prevention and treatment of sexual abuse of adults with learning disabilities in residential settings
Pub. ARC & NAPSAC, UK, 1993
Highlights issues which need to be addressed and provides guidance for all those who have responsibility for the purchase , provision and inspection of residential care for adults with learning disabilities. Also includes Brown & Turk 1992/3 research.

Thinking the unthinkable - papers on sexual abuse and people with learning difficulties
By Eds. Hilary Brown & Ann Craft
Pub. FPA Education Unit, 1989

The sexual assault survivors handbook for people with developmental difficulties and their advocates
By Nora. J. Baladerian
Pub. R& E Publishers California, 1991
Designed for readers with disabilities/learning difficulties and their carers, with large format, large print text, illustrations and in simple language. Explains basic self defence; what sexual assault is; going to hospital; reporting to the police; what happens in court (with diagrams) Useful, but based on American procedure and some details of the discussion on rape are problematic.

The Woodrow Project - a sexual abuse prevention curriculum for the developmentally disabled
Pub. Red Flag Green Flag, USA, 1987
This material has been adapted from the “Red Flag Green Flag programme and is intended for use with adults with learning difficulties . This manual gives complete information on how to set up the programme and is accompanied by a video which is available from the project.

Invisible victims - Crimes and abuse against people with learning difficulties
By Christopher Williams
Pub. Jessica Kingsley, London, 1995

The SCOSAC focus on child sexual - abuse & people with disabilities or special needs
By Cathy Roberts PhD
Pub. SCOSAC, London, 1992

Sexual abuse and people with learning difficulties : developing access to community services
By David Simpson
Pub. Family Planning Association, England, 1994

Advice for social services departments on abuse of people with learning disabilities in residential care
Pub. ADSS/NAPSAC, England 1996

Working with the unthinkable - A trainers manual on the sexual abuse of adults with learning difficulties
By Hilary Brown & Ann Craft
Pub. FPA, London, 1992
This is a trainers manual on the sexual abuse of adults with learning difficulties. It is aimed at trainers who are comfortable leading participative workshops and who have some knowledge of sexual issues as they affect people with learning difficulties. The material offers a variety of training “menus” and make suggestions for building workshops for different groups of participants (eg all staff working in a hostel.) the exercises are clearly written and contain step by step instructions, as well as background research And handouts. Aims of each exercise are succinctly defined and they are arranged in four
blocks: recognising; responding; protecting; supporting. A highly valuable training resource written with sensitivity and care.

Witnessing nurturing protesting - therapeutic responses to sexual abuse of people with learning disabilities
By Alan Corbett, Tasmin Coutts & Stephen Morris
Pub. David Fulton Publishers, London, 1996

Trinity of pain - therapeutic responses to people with learning disabilities who commit sexual offences
By Alan Corbett
Pub. Respond, London, 1996

Don’t forget us - children with learning disabilities and severe challenging behaviour
By The Mental Health Foundation, London 1997

Your rights about sex - a booklet for people with learning disabilities
By Michelle McCarthy & Paul Cambridge
Pub. Bild Publications, Plymouth, 1996

Sexuality, learning difficulties and doing what’s right
By Gavin Fairbairn, Denis Rowley & Maggie Bowen
Pub. David Fulton Publishers, London, 1995
awaiting review


But now they’ve got a voice A tape about sexual abuse for service users made by service users
Edited by Hilary Brown & June Stein
produced by The Tizard Centre, University Of Kent, 1996
This tape was made by a group of service users who are survivors of sexual abuse. they wanted to use what had happened to them to help other people with learning disabiliites . Also has a facilitators handbook 


The Woodrow Project
24 minutes
This programme is designed for use with young adults with learning difficulties. the video is accompanied by a manual with information on setting up the programme which is also available from the project.

Between ourselves
15 minutes
Young women with moderate learning difficulties who attend the Elfrida Rathbone Centre, Islington, set up a women’s group. The video shows the women exploring difficult and painful experiences they have encountered. The all women group gained support from each other and have overcome embarrassment to discuss child sexual abuse, sex, contraception, and their bodies. recommend for anyone setting up a group.

No means no
30 minutes
This thirty minute video made by and for women with learning difficulties stresses the importance of having a women’s group to help with personal problems. Group members explain concepts like being safe and feeling comfortable in your own home in simple language. Short clips show group members taking part in self defence classes and practising being assertive. The importance of safety in everyday
situations is stressed and advice given in short scenes acted out by group members. In addition organisations like family planning, police (women’s unit) and victim support are visited and interviewed by group members about the services they offer. The overall message of this video is - you have a right to be safe and if you have a problem find someone to talk to about it. This video comes with a pack of five worksheets.

Living safely in your community - A personal safety course for adults who have a learning disability
By Gavin Dickson & Mo Innes
Produced by City of Edinburgh Council, 1996


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