Explorative study into the victimisation of people with learning disabilities in the UK

Heath, Jamie (2011) Explorative study into the victimisation of people with learning disabilities in the UK. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation aimed to explore the victimisation of people with learning disabilities in the UK. This is a topic that many people are unaware of. In particular there is a lack of awareness or knowledge surrounding the true extent of victimisation, for various reasons such as a lack of reporting of victimisation and very little coverage of low level victimisation. The main focus of the research was to gain further understanding into the true picture of victimisation of people with learning disabilities, for example the types and levels of victimisation taking place and what the responses were to this. A review of existing literature showed that despite a lack of knowledge into the true extent of victimisation research shows that it can be common and at times extremely serious. It was also shown that there are flaws with the response to victimisation.

    The primary research consisted of interviews, both with people with learning disabilities and staff who worked closely with people with learning disabilities. The focus of the interviews was to gather the opinions and experiences of these people to get a greater understanding of what occurs from those closest to the issue. This included whether they had been victimised, how they responded and any recommendations to improve upon the problem. Staff were questioned for their expertise in the area to provide insights into what they have experienced and what they think of responses and what could be improved.

    This dissertation gained further understanding of an issue which is often overlooked and concluded that, despite it being difficult to estimate the true extent of victimisation it is more common than the majority of people are aware and the impact is extremely serious. Although people with learning disabilities have moved away from institutionalised care towards more independent living they are unable to live independently when fearful of abuse. As a result much work is needed to challenge this very serious, if under acknowledged, issue. This work requires education for people with learning disabilities to tackle under-reporting, for people who victimise to prevent the ‘fear of other’ that may encourage victimisation, and for those needing to respond such as police and courts to tackle the victimisation successfully. However, unfortunately, with the current financial climate and significant budget cuts this could prove increasingly difficult.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 10:18
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:50
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/5664

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