Dimensions and ARC support the #UsToo campaign tackling domestic violence towards women and girls with learning disabilities and/or autism. The new campaign tackling domestic violence will also be providing victims, potential victims and services that support them with resources and training.
Public Health England has found that people with learning disabilities and/or autism face higher rates of domestic abuse than the general population and over a longer period of time. Additionally, the abuse is often more frequent and severe, and there are more barriers when attempting to access essential support services.
The #UsToo team is a group of women with learning disabilities, autism or both who have experienced domestic abuse. They offer a range of accessible materials aimed at people with learning disabilities to help them better identify the signs of abuse and provide a clear guide on how to seek support should it happen to them. The group also provide peer-led training aimed at a range of audiences: social care support staff, peer education or professionals from domestic abuse and sexual violence services.
The group have collaborated with Open Clasp Theatre Company to translate the lived experiences of abused women with learning disabilities and autism into a powerful film, ‘Us Too: Alisha’s Story’. Commissioned by Durham University and Sunderland University in response to research into the barriers learning disabled people face when reporting sexual and domestic abuse, the film includes disabled actors such as Holly Wilkinson and tickets are available from £1 from the Open Clasp website.
As part of the campaign tackling domestic violence, Dimensions is sharing resources and information from ARC England for victims or potential victims of domestic violence based on their experiences, for the benefit of other women and girls with learning disabilities and/or autism, and professionals working with them, on how to stay safe and keep others safe, respectively.
Dimensions’ resources also include a case study from Michelle, a survivor of domestic violence, containing advice for women and girls currently suffering from abuse. Retaining connections with family, friends, or co-workers can help women with learning disabilities and/or autism to gauge which behaviours are normal, and which are symptomatic of abuse. Input from other people can often help women and girls with learning disabilities and/or autism to identify if they are in an abusive relationship, as was the case with Michelle.
Information about the campaign tackling domestic violence, training and further resources can be accessed on the Dimensions website. Click here to read more.
Rachael Dodgson, Chief Executive Officer at Dimensions, said,
'We are incredibly pleased to be partnering with ARC England to combat the travesty of domestic violence and abuse to which people with learning disabilities and autistic people are particularly susceptible. By sharing ARC England’s resources with our extensive Dimensions community, we hope to encourage professional services to listen and take swift action when approached by people suffering domestic abuse.'