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Not only do these beliefs hold people with learning disabilities back from relationships, they also infringe on their human right to privacy and a family life, as outlined in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.My research explores the views and experiences of women with learning disabilities on sexual relationships and as part of my Ph D I gave them a platform to talk openly about this taboo subject. look how long I will be in my 50s and then 60s and I am thinking I don’t want to be in the same situation … I want somebody to settle down and spend the rest of my life with.
People with learning disabilities, like everyone else, have a need for affectionate and intimate relationships.
It also featured in The Undateables, and it is clearly evident from the series that support can enable people with learning disabilities to form relationships.
And success is not only measured by a successful date but by the confidence that individuals gain by going on a date, too.
I interviewed 16 women with mild to moderate learning disabilities who were members of Stars in the Sky, a pioneering dating agency that you might recognise from the Channel 4’s Undateables. The social networks that many people take for granted are often restricted for people with learning disabilities and they find it hard to engage or access social activities where they can meet people and possibly form relationships.
The challenge, however, is getting the right support. But there should be a balance between protecting people from abuse and enabling them to get into relationships, otherwise people are denied their right to do so.