Responding to the needs of people who have learning disabilities and have been raped : co-prooduction in action
- Publisher: Emerald
Purpose \ud \ud The paper discusses a project that explored why mainstream rape support services are still failing to meet the needs of women with learning disabilities. Principles of co-production and action learning enabled a group of women, including women with learning disabilities, to share knowledge and skills and develop easy-read information leaflets.\ud Design/methodology/approach\ud The project included representatives from a University, a Third sector Organisation and a Rape Crisis Centre. Action learning methods were used to bring together a broad range of experience and expertise. The project was co-led by a woman with a learning disability and a lecturer in social work with people with learning disabilities. \ud Findings\ud Three organisations had been toiling with a similar issue, that of responses to women with learning disabilities who had been raped. Each had previously examined the problem from their own perspective. An action learning process enabled them to explore the issues from a range of experiences, sharing knowledge and expertise and enabling them to begin to develop better service responses.\ud Co-production of knowledge highlights competing priorities in and between organisations. It can also provide the means of managing these tensions.\ud Social implications \ud The project demonstrates the importance of co-production. By working together each organisation learned about the needs of the other. This resulted in shared understanding of the barriers experienced by women with learning disabilities who experience rape and of the challenges experienced by workers who aim to support them. This shared understanding enabled the Action Learning Set to develop bespoke training and literature.\ud Originality value\ud All of the participants shared the goal of developing more accessible services for women with learning disabilities who had experienced rape. The project included people with learning disabilities from inception. It was based on expressed need of a group of women with learning disabilities who had been raped and experienced other forms of domestic violence. The project demonstrates the importance of working with people with learning disabilities in order to develop services that truly meet their needs.\ud Key words\ud Learning disability, action-learning, easy -read information, domestic violence, co-production, organisational identity.
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