A video for women with learning disabilities can be viewed here
Hard copies of the DVD are available from Michelle McCarthy
Supported Loving toolkit
There has not been a lot of research on domestic violence against women with learning disabilities, but we are gradually learning more about their experiences.
It is important that everyone is aware that women with learning disabilities, especially those who live independently, are at risk from domestic violence. This is particularly the case when they are in relationships with men who don’t have learning disabilities.
Women with learning disabilities are often vulnerable to being abused in their intimate relationships because they may:
Watch Dr Michelle McCarthy's talk about domestic violence against women with learning disabilities.
Tracey had a violent and controlling partner. He was significantly older than her and did not have learning disabilities, though he did have mental health and drug/alcohol problems. He moved into Tracey’s flat at a very early stage in the relationship, even though she didn’t want him to. He said he was being made homeless and had nowhere else to go, so she took him in.
He became aggressive, telling her what to do, where she could go, who she could see. He would shout in her face and tell her she was fat and ugly. He was both physically and sexually violent. He made Tracey give him her benefits money and she often did not have enough money to feed herself or her much loved pet cat. Tracy has a support worker for an hour a week, she does not tell them about the abuse but they know she often has no money and have seen bruises on her arms, but have never spoken to her about it.
Tracey lived with this abuse for many months, until one day her partner pushed her down the stairs causing a serious head injury. This meant she spent a long time recovering in hospital. During that time, she confided in a nurse. The nurse got the hospital social worker involved and Tracey was well supported by her. During Tracey’s long stay in hospital, her partner moved out of the flat, but only after causing considerable damage to it. Tracey never reported his abuse to the police, so he was never held to account. Tracey was supported to do the Freedom Programme (a group based programme which offers women an insight into abusive and controlling relationships and its effects).
View accessible leaflet.
Beverley Lewis House is the only specialist refuge in the UK for women with learning disabilities. More information is available here.
Download this leaflet from Easy Health.