The Unit for Development in Intellectual Disabilities (UDID) at the University of Glamorgan has released the findings of their Looking into Abuse research.
Researchers found that too little is being done to protect people with learning difficulties from abuse. The study, which was conducted by academics and people with learning difficulties, also found that people who reported abuse were often not believed or supported.
People reported being abused in a variety of settings, including on public transport and in schools. The research recommends that people with learning difficulties need better education on how to deal with such abuse and how to stay safe. It also said people who experienced abuse should be given greater access to counselling and therapy and that in all cases reports of abuse should be taken seriously.
The research report makes separate recommendations for policy makers and services, in order to respond to and prevent the abuse of people with a learning difficulties. The report also identifies specific areas of responsibility "that the project team strongly feel that every citizen has a responsibility to take some action to address the abuse experienced by people with learning difficulties":
· We need to listen to what people with learning difficulties say about abuse. This may be said through words or through behaviour.
· We need to believe them when they say they have been abused.
· We need to do something if they tell us they have been abused. This needs to include both an immediate, appropriate response as well as on-going support.
The report, an executive summary and Easy Read versions can be found at the Unit for Development in Intellectual Disabilities website .