ACT has always been very aware of the injustices that many disabled children and adults at risk face to tackle this we use our safeguarding expertise to try and change things for the better.
It is believed that disabled children and adults are up to 4 times more likely to experience abuse. Despite this there is a low conviction rate of those who sexually abuse people with learning disabilities.
Our campaigning focuses on improving the legal system, measures to prevent abuse and on making sure that those who are employed to work with vulnerable people are suitable to do so.
Disabled children and adults at risk of abuse often face many difficulties getting access to justice; perhaps they are treated badly by the legal system or find it hard to get someone to take them seriously when a crime has happened to them.
We also focus on preventing and tackling sexual abuse and violence against disabled children and adults at risk as we know that they are at increased risk of sexual abuse. Research suggests that each year at least 1,400 adults with a learning disability are likely to be reported as victims of sexual abuse (Brown, Stein and Turk; The Sexual Abuse of Adults with a Learning Disability).
As part of our policy work, we respond to Government consultations and participate in stakeholder steering groups on public policy. This ensures that our views and the needs of disabled children and adults at risk are heard by those who make the law.
Some of the formal and informal consultations that we have been involved in are:
We keep people informed of our work by publicising our campaigns in the media. Our regular comments on events and abuse cases also highlight issues regarding abuse prevention and securing justice for vulnerable victims of crime and abuse.
Links to our recent press releases are below.
For all media enquiries, please contact our Media & Development Officer, Matt Parr, on 0115 9515400.
We regularly meet with MPs and Peers to discuss our campaigns, and how they can get involved.
ACT has given written evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into the human rights of adults with learning disabilities. We have also met with members of the Joint Committee to answer their questions. Our evidence describes how crime and abuse violate the human rights of adults with learning disabilities and suggests recommendations the Joint Committee could make to ensure adults with learning disabilities enjoy their human rights. Our original evidence prepared for the Joint Committee can be downloaded by clicking here and our supplemental evidence can be downloaded here.
Parliament recently debated the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill and we used this opportunity to highlight the hidden problem of the forced marriage of people with learning disabilities. Jo Swinson MP kindly tabled an amendment to the Bill to ensure the needs of people with learning disabilities are met when courts consider forced marriage cases and you can read our briefing on this amendment here. Our original evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights also described this serious issue and suggested reforms to public policy. Further information can be found in our main submission to the Joint Committee and in our supplemental evidence. This is an issue on which we are continuing to campaign.