Disabled young men and women experience higher rates of domestic abuse than their non-disabled peers.

Evidence indicates that professionals are less able to recognise and distinguish abuse from other needs, and that disabled young people are less likely both to disclose abuse and to receive a response that meets their needs.

We have recently been funded by the Lloyds Foundation to research into reducing the risk of domestic abuse for disabled young adults.

Recognising and reducing risks of domestic abuse for disabled young adults; understanding and improving access to services – 2017/18

We are working in partnership with Coventry University in undertaking this Lloyds Foundation funded research project.

Public Health England produced a key report highlighting increased risks to disabled men and women, with broad actions recommended including training, multi-agency collaboration and increased involvement of disabled people in planning.

The recognition of the category of ‘domestic abuse’ in the 2014 Care Act now means all agencies including domestic abuse workers, health, social care, education, police and support services need to be able to recognise signs of domestic abuse in disabled young people, adults and children at risk. Child Protection procedures and guidance have an expectation that professionals address these issues. Yet young people with learning disabilities do not have the same access to support.

Practitioners in adults and children’s services need skills in working with disabled children and young people. There is an identified gap in research-informed training to assist frontline workers and their managers. This project will contribute to addressing this gap.

The aims of this research are to:

  • Understand the experiences of disabled young people of support services and intervention by domestic abuse services, police, health, social care and other workers; to seek young peoples’ views about how services respond to them.
  • Find out more about what disabled young people want from domestic abuse services and support agencies; what would good practice mean to them.
  • Identify what works and what have been the barriers to delivering this help and support.
  • Develop training materials and policy and practice recommendations.
  • Disabled young people who have experienced domestic abuse (aged 17 – 25)
  • Professionals working with young people with learning disabilities
  • Professionals working in the domestic abuse field.

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