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‘That’s a bit of a minefield!’: Supported Decision-Making in Intellectually Disabled People’s Intimate Lives

Harding, Rosie; Tascioglu, Ezgi


Rosie Harding


In this chapter, we explore the issue of support for intellectually disabled people in developing intimate relationships within the constraints of the regulatory position set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Through analysis of empirical data from qualitative interviews with disabled people and health and social care professionals, we explore the interconnection of autonomy, vulnerability, empowerment and protection in this complex area. We argue that law and practice in this area needs to step back from focusing only on protectionist responses, which can exacerbate the problem. We propose, building on our empirical data, that we need instead to move towards discourses and practices that help support the autonomy of intellectually disabled people while recognising their vulnerability.

Acceptance Date Mar 2, 2020
Publication Date Mar 2, 2020
Pages 256 - 270
Book Title Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law
Chapter Number 19
ISBN 978 1 78811 114 0
Publisher URL