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Inaction Over Seven Years of Sexual Assaults
Women with learning disabilities are
still frequent victims of sexual
A case has emerged in which, despite the authorities’ belief that a woman with learning disabilities, Ms. A, had been raped and sexually assaulted as many as 12 times over a period of 7 years, no action was taken against the alleged perpetrators.
A report by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, Justice Denied, has condemned those responsible for Ms. A for denying her equal access to justice based on underlying attitudes towards people with learning disabilities.
The summary of the report states: “It is difficult to escape the conclusion that different standards were applied to Ms. A because she had a learning disability. The circumstances which allowed Miss A to be sexually assaulted, repeatedly, without those who assaulted her being brought to justice, are ones which are common throughout Scotland."
Ms. A, a former Paralympic athlete, was dismissed as an ’unreliable witness’ because of her learning disability. Instead of bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice, social services restricted, and continue to restrict, her movement because the three men are still living freely nearby. RADAR calls this situation absolutely unacceptable denial of basic human rights.
Liz Sayce, Chief executive of RADAR, said: “Research by Mencap has shown that nine out of ten people with learning disabilities experience harassment as a feature of their daily life, and tragically many are targeted for serious assault.”
“For over 10 years good practice guides have shown how to support people with learning disabilities to report crimes and give their evidence - through special training for police and prosecutors, providing individuals with the support they need right through the process and involving care staff or advocates where needed.”
“If this is not properly implemented rapists will continue to think people with learning disabilities are easy targets - after all, if they complain, who will take their evidence seriously? It is particularly despicable to pick on disabled people in this way which is why police forces across Scotland need to adopt good practice, to reach out to disabled people and to assure them that their complaints of crime will be treated with the utmost seriousness.”
REHACARE.de; Source: RADAR
- More about RADAR at: www.radar.org.uk
( Source: REHACARE.de )