Abused women with learning difficulties lack services

Hundreds of women with learning difficulties who have been sexually
abused lack services, campaigners warned today,writes
Maria Ahmed.

Learning difficulties groups told a seminar at Community
Live that while around 1,400 people with were abused each
year, this only represented the “tip of the

Nick Peckham, clinical psychologist at Northgate & Prudhoe
NHS Trust highlighted the need for more survivors groups, and said
there was not enough research into the issue.

Maxine Fagg, project manager at Beverley Lewis House, the only
refuge for abused women with learning difficulties in Europe, said
hundreds of women had “nowhere to go”.

Other delegates called for more services for male survivors of
abuse and said many people found it hard to bring their cases to
the criminal justice system despite recently introduced legislation
including the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

Rebecca Seden, campaigns and policy officer for Respond, Voice
UK and the Ann Craft Trust, urged workers to make use of the
legislation which was designed to improve access to justice for
people with learning difficulties.

She added: “While the legislation is now there, we need to
see a whole culture change in attitudes in courts and the police to
ensure equal access to justice.”

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