People with learning disabilities have a right to be protected from sexual violence and abuse, yet 90% of them will experience sexual abuse at some point in their life, most frequently from family members or others in their close circle. Safeguarding this right can only be achieved if people with learning disabilities are empowered to protect themselves. Increasing their autonomy in relation to their sexual lives, relationships, bodies and privacy is key. But how can people with learning disabilities be expected to say no to sexual violence and abuse, if even the smallest aspects of daily life are decided for them by others? In this context, it is crucial to strengthen their overall autonomy, active participation and integration in society, and the transition from institutions to community based-care.
The 2-year ‘Keep me Safe’ project aimed to empower young people with learning disabilities to protect themselves against sexual abuse and violence across Europe. It was co-funded by the European Commission Daphne III Programme. On 11-12 December 2014, IPPF Member Associations, NGOs, parents of young people with learning disabilities, decision-makers and authorities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Macedonia, Romania, Spain, and UK, as well as staff from the IPPF EN regional office, gathered in Madrid for its final event. Here you can download the set of Policy recommendations they developed and endorsed at the meeting.