Portsmouth Independent Support - News
The BBC reported on 10th September that research suggests that children with learning disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
A coalition of children's charities say they have the "same vulnerabilities" as all children but face extra "barriers" to getting protection or support and their report calls on UK authorities to offer "accessible and appropriate" sex and relationships education to children with learning disabilities. A new report, ‘Unprotected, Overprotected’, reveals that significant numbers of children with learning disabilities are not being adequately protected from sexual exploitation because of the false perception that they do not need sex and relationships education or accessible information about how to keep safe online and in the community. The research also reveals that children with learning disabilities are not being adequately protected due to a worrying lack of specialist services and a failure to implement existing national and local policies.
The government said the study shone a "much-needed spotlight" on such abuse. The report was commissioned by Comic Relief, and was produced by Barnardo's, the Children's Society, the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Paradigm Research and Coventry University.
Commenting on the "barriers" stopping children getting protection or support, the report says: "The reasons for this are complex and appear to be entrenched in the way society perceives and treats young people with learning disabilities."
It says the research "illustrates that the abuse of disabled children is under-reported and often hidden, and that a range of myths and stereotypes surround the abuse they experience".
"It highlights that disabled children often make clear disclosures of abuse - often multiple disclosures - without being heard," the report adds.
It says many victims display "challenging" behaviour after being abused - but this is "often assumed to be related to a child's impairment rather than an indication of abuse".
Jane (not her real name) has autism and was 14 when a man she met online convinced her to send intimate pictures of herself.
"I thought I was talking to someone two years older than me," she said - but the man turned out to be "a lot older".
"He asked me to send private pictures of myself and I thought 'well, he likes me, this is what everybody does, it must be a couple thing' and he told me that as well so that was reassuring for me."
Jane, now 19, added: "When I found out who he really was I really regretted it and I wish I could turn back time."
Speaking about the pictures, she said: "He sent them to other people and then they sent them to their friends and I was at school at the time and the pictures ended up going around school and I was bullied quite a lot.
"There were pictures printed out and put around school at the time so wherever I went these pictures were following me."
Researchers found children with learning disabilities and professionals working with them reported a "general lack of attention to sex and relationships education".
Such education, focussed on healthy relationships and raising awareness of sexual abuse, should form part of "every young person's education", the report adds.
It also highlights "significant gaps" in the knowledge of professionals working with children, and calls for extra training.
Useful websites offering guidance to help keep children and young people to stay safe while using the internet
The regulations dealing with transition were amended at the end of August 2015. The purpose of this amendment is to extend the time line for a transition from a statement to an EHC plan to 18 weeks. Under the original order the time limit was 14 weeks. In both cases, this is plus the two weeks’ notice which local authorities have to give. Thankfully this is a straightforward amendment, changing the references to 14 weeks to 18 weeks. There are just two things of interest to note:
- This amendment only relates to transitions from statements. It does not affect transitions from Learning Difficulty Assessments to EHC plans which still go by the original time table;
- It will not affect transitions which started before 1st September 2015.
IPSEA have updated their Transition time-line resource to reflect this change and it can be viewed here.
They also have various other links on their webpage regarding this update, please follow the link below to read their article in full:
More information about this update
The Council for Disabled Children also report on the above changes - to view please click on the link below:
We are close to launching the Young People’s Information, Advice and Support Service Website. It is currently online but set so that it doesn’t appear in google searches until we have it just the way we want it. The YPIASS website should help to give information to young people aged 16-25 with a special educational need or disability to help them to get the most out of their education. We would like to hear from young people to find out what they think of the website, so please take a look at www.ypiass.org.uk and let us know:
What is good about the website?
What is not so good about the website?
Did you find everything that you were looking for?
How could the website be improved?
Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and everyone who feeds back on the website will be entered into a draw to win a gift voucher.
Ever wondered why your child behaves a certain way? Are you experiencing difficulties with sleep, potty training or behavioural issues?
Portsmouth Parent Voice have teamed up with the Specialist Health Visitor Service to enable parents and carers to share their experiences on these topics. Their first topic will be sleep and will be held at The Frank Sorrell Centre, Prince Albert Road, Southsea P04 9HR on Thursday 15th October from 9:30am to 12noon.
If you would like more information please email email@example.com or ring 07825 185608.
Does your child have a Statement of Special Educational Needs?
Will you be changing to the new Education, Health and Care Plan?
What is a Person Centred Review? Who can help us through the new process?
To find out more on the new Education, Health and Care plan process, come along on 22nd September from 10am to 12pm or 19th November from 5pm to 6.30pm at Frank Sorrell Centre, Prince Albert Road, Southsea PO4 9HR.
To book your place, ring: 07825 185 608 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know, if you the parent or carer of a disabled child there may be a grant you can apply for to help with mobility aids, short breaks, and housing etc. There is a designated website that gives helpful tips and has lots of useful information about grants and how to access and apply for them. Find out more by visiting their website Disability Grants