People with learning difficulties are considerably more likely to experience sexual violence than non-disabled people, and for this reason they are often described as 'vulnerable'. However, the use of this label can in fact increase risk. This book argues that by seeing adults with learning difficulties as vulnerable and in need of protection, they are stripped of their autonomy and left with fewer skills that are needed to protect themselves from harm. Their different treatment, such as segregation and over-protection, can in fact increase their 'vulnerability'. The author discusses a range of social processes, such as sex education, self-determination, friendships, sexual relationships and social inclusion, and examines the risk and benefits associated with each. Drawing on the everyday experiences of 29 adults with learning difficulties, the author illustrates how people with learning difficulties can be capable of safeguarding themselves from harm, and makes a range of suggestions for enabling them to become better equipped at managing risk themselves. This book will be essential reading for practitioners working with people with learning difficulties, as well as students and academics in the fields of disability and social work.
Learning Difficulties and Sexual Vulnerability
Jessica Kingsley Publishers