Support for those with learning difficulties

Sexual abuse, rape or sexual violence can affect anyone. People of all genders or backgrounds can experience these horrific crimes.

The Survivors Trust London is passionate about ensuring all survivors have access to appropriate support to help them heal from what has happened. 

Evidence has shown that people with learning disabilities or autism are sadly more likely to be affected by sexual abuse, sexual violence or sexual exploitation than the general population.

Individuals affected can be left feeling confused about what has happened, angry, ashamed and frightened. 

It is important for survivors with learning difficulties to receive appropriate support in a safe, and understanding environment to enable them to process the trauma they have experienced and begin to better understand the complex thoughts and feelings they may have.

Receiving appropriate support, therapy and guidance can help survivors with learning disabilities continue to live richer, more resilient lives.

Learning difficulties, Rape and Sexual Abuse, Survivors Trust London 1

Some of the ways people with learning difficulties can be supported include:

Counselling

Therapy and counselling to help the individual understand what has happened and process any difficult feelings they are having. 

Education 

Sex and relationship workshops can help individuals learn about body boundaries and healthy relationships.

Advocacy and Support

Advocacy, or support from an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor to provide information to a survivor who is considering reporting to the police. 

The Criminal Justice System and the process of reporting is overwhelming for all survivors, but for people with learning difficulties it is especially important they have the support needed to navigate this process.

This is someone who is able to explain what is happening at all stages of the process.

Whilst many sexual violence and abuse services welcome survivors with learning difficulties, or autism, The Survivors Trust member agency Respond https://respond.org.uk/ are a service dedicated to supporting people with learning disabilities, autism or both who have experienced abuse, violence or trauma

Respond typically focus on long-term work with survivors in recognition of research that individuals with autism and learning disabilities who have experienced abuse and trauma take longer to process their trauma and to recover.

Members of Survivors Trust London who provide services for people with learning difficulties: 

  • Respond
  • Survivors UK
  • London Centre for Personal Safety

Members of Survivors Trust London who provide services for people with learning difficulties: 

  • Respond
  • Survivors UK
  • London Centre for Personal Safety