Opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities to participate in relationships and sexuality education (RSE) are often constrained by the attitudes and perceptions of family carers, frontline support workers and professional staff. In order to understand how the barriers might be reduced, a study was undertaken in Northern Ireland with samples drawn from these three stakeholder groups, involving nearly 100 persons and using group and individual interviews. Although there was agreement on the need for RSE, four barriers were commonly reported: the need to protect vulnerable persons; the lack of training; the scarcity of educational resources; and cultural prohibitions. The impact of these barriers could be lessened through partnership working across these groups involving the provision of training and information about RSE, the development of risk management procedures and the empowerment of people with intellectual disabilities.
Lafferty, A., McConkey, R., & Simpson, A. (2012). Reducing the barriers to Relationships and Sexuality Education for persons with Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 16(1), 27-41. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744629512438034