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Journal article

Brick by brick: building up our knowledge base on the abuse of adults with learning disabilities

Author:
McCARTHY Michelle
Journal article citation:
Tizard Learning Disability Review, 19(3), 2014, pp.130-133.
Publisher:
Emerald

Purpose: This commentary encourages readers to take a broad view of abuse of people with learning disabilities and to use all the knowledge available to support individuals, whilst at the same time demanding social changes. Design/methodology/approach: Whilst acknowledging the continued importance of research studies specifically focused on the topic of abuse, this commentary reviews information about abuse of adults with learning disabilities from other sources, e.g., through service audits, studies on sexual and personal relationships. Findings: Having many sources of information about abuse against people with learning disabilities is a good thing, but there are some problems associated with this. First, some forms of abuse appear to be easier to find out about than others, and second, the difficult question of how the information can be used to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Sexual awareness

Author:
McCARTHY Michelle
Journal article citation:
Nursing Times, 23.12.92, 1992, pp.62-64.
Publisher:
Nursing Times

Describes the AIDS Awareness/Sex Education Project in North West Hertfordshire HA which operates in three large hospitals for people with learning difficulties and explains the design of the project, which is to make people with learning difficulties less vulnerable to sexual exploitation and HIV infection.

Journal article

‘What kind of abuse is him spitting in my food?’: reflections on the similarities between disability hate crime, so-called ‘mate’ crime and domestic violence against women with intellectual disabilities

Author:
McCARTHY Michelle
Journal article citation:
Disability and Society, 32(4), 2017, pp.595-600.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis,

Domestic violence against women with learning disabilities is a wholly under-researched topic. A recent study indicated that there are strong parallels between domestic violence, disability hate crime and ‘mate’ crime. This article explores these similarities and argues that rather than treating them as discrete phenomena, we need to make the connections and re-affirm the commitment that feminist scholars and activists made long ago, namely to take violence committed in private as seriously as that committed in public. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

What are the support needs of women with learning disabilities who have been abused?

Author:
McCARTHY Michelle
Journal article citation:
Tizard Learning Disability Review, 21(1), 2016, pp.39-42.
Publisher:
Emerald

Purpose: In discussing some of the issues arising from the article by Angela Olsen and Catherine Carter, the purpose of this paper is to draw readers’ attention to the various support needs women with learning disabilities may have. Design/methodology/approach: Critical analysis based on review of literature and the author’s research and practice-based experience. Findings: Women with learning disabilities have similar support needs to other women who have experienced violence and abuse. However, in order to get their needs met, they need access to information, support from professionals and to share experiences with other women. Originality/value: This commentary encourages readers to view the abuse of women with learning disabilities in a broad social context and to use all the knowledge available to protect and empower individuals, whilst at the same time demanding social changes to end discrimination and abuse. (Publisher abstract)

Book

Sex and the 3 Rs: rights, risks and responsibilities: a sex education pack for working with people with learning disabilities

Authors:
McCARTHY Michelle, THOMPSON David
Publisher:
Pavilion
Publication year:
2007
Pagination:
156p., 65p., ill.
Place of publication:
Brighton
Edition:
Rev. ed.

A sex education package for working with people with learning difficulties. This pack contains ideas and materials for delivering sex education covering recent policy and legislative changes. Like its predecessor, this training resource is aimed primarily at those working with adults with learning disabilities, however parts of it can be adapted for use with younger people. It contains ideas and materials covering a wide range of specific issues and problems for direct sex education work, both on an individual and group basis. Containing many suggestions for wider service responses, this pack aims to assist staff in providing realistic support to people with learning disabilities.

Journal article

Teaching difficulties

Authors:
McCARTHY Michelle, THOMPSON David
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 28.5.92, 1992, pp.ii-iii.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

Explains how to teach people with learning difficulties about safer sex and the dangers of HIV and AIDS, stressing the need to appreciate power imbalances in sexual relationships.

Journal article Full text available online for free

‘I know it was every week, but I can't be sure if it was every day: domestic violence and women with learning disabilities

Authors:
McCARTHY Michelle, HUNT Siobhan, MILNE-SKILLMAN Karen
Journal article citation:
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 30(2), 2017, pp.269-282.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Background: Domestic violence against women is well researched in the general population, but much less so in relation to women with learning disabilities. This qualitative research study interviewed 15 women with learning disabilities who had experienced domestic violence about their experiences, the impact of the violence on them and their children, their coping strategies and help seeking behaviour. Materials and methods: Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted. Data were analysed using Inter-pretive Phenomenological Analysis. A service user advisory group helped at particular stages, notably at the formative stage and with dissemination, especially the production of accessible materials, including a DVD. Results: The violence experienced by many of the women was severe and frequent. It impacted negatively on their physical and psychological well-being. The women's awareness of refuges and others sources of help was generally low. Conclusions: Healthcare and social care professionals have a clear remit to help women with learning disabilities to avoid and escape violent relationships. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

Domestic violence and women with learning disabilities

Authors:
McCARTHY Michelle, HUNT Siobhan, MILNE-SKILLMAN Karen
Publisher:
NIHR School for Social Care Research
Publication year:
2015
Pagination:
4

Summarises the findings of a study on women’s experience of domestic violence. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 women with mild and moderate learning disabilities who had experienced domestic violence in the previous five years, and had left the violent relationship. The study also draws on an online nationwide survey of care practitioners and police across the UK, exploring their experience of working with women with learning disabilities who had lived with domestic violence, their views on the women’s vulnerability and their reasons for leaving/staying in a violent relationship. The women interviewed reported that the domestic violence they experienced was often severe (including the use of weapons, and violence during pregnancy), frequent and over long periods of time. All forms of domestic violence were reported – physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, coercive control- and typically women would experience multiple forms at the same time. The psychological impact on the women was considerable. All reported low self-esteem and self-worth and many reported developing mental health problems (most commonly anxiety and depression). Some began to self-harm and a minority had had suicidal thoughts and/or had attempted suicide. The husbands or boyfriends of the women in the study did not usually have learning disabilities themselves, but did tend to have other problems such as mental health difficulties, drug and alcohol problems, be unemployed and/or have criminal records. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Staff attitudes towards sexuality in relation to gender of people with intellectual disability: a qualitative study

Authors:
YOUNG Rhea, GORE Nick, McCARTHY Michelle
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 37(4), December 2012, pp.343-347.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

The aim of this study was to examine whether the gender of people with intellectual disability affects the attitudes of staff regarding their sexuality. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 people (7 female, 3 male) who worked directly with adults with intellectual disability in a variety of capacities. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts identified 3 themes: women are perceived as sexually innocent, men as more sexually motivated, and motivations for intimate relationships are perceived to differ between men and women with intellectual disability. The article presents the results with examples from the interviews. The authors report that the study indicates unfavourable attitudes towards sexuality in individuals with intellectual disability that correlate with traditional, restricted gender stereotypes, and suggest that their findings highlight the importance of considering gender when supporting the sexuality of people with intellectual disability.

Journal article

Exercising choice and control - women with learning disabilities and contraception

Author:
McCARTHY Michelle
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(4), December 2010, pp.293-302.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

This research project investigated contraception use amongst women with learning disabilities. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were held with 23 women with learning disabilities, aged between 20 and 51, about their experience of being prescribed contraception. In addition, a postal survey was returned by 162 general practitioners across two counties in England which included questions about their contraception prescribing practices to women with learning disabilities, and how they dealt with issues of capacity to consent to treatment. A service user group was also involved at different stages of the project. Most of the women reported that other people had made the key decisions about starting to use contraception and which method to use. Both the women and the doctors said they liked having a third party, such as a staff member or relative, present for the consultations. Many of the doctors were unclear about responding to issues of capacity to consent to treatment. The article discusses: the constraints on the women’s ability to make choices; the presence of carers in medical consultations; responding to capacity issues; and the need for training for healthcare professionals. An accessible research summary was produced to make the process and findings of the research available to the women with learning disabilities who took part in the study, as well as to any others who were interested, and extracts of this are included in this article.

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