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Loneliness + Cruelty

Authors: Carwyn Gravell


This was a study done in the United Kingdom about people with intellectual disabilities who have been victims of crime. For the first phase of the research project, 67 people with intellectual disabilities were interviewed about their lives and their experience of harassment, abuse and related crime in the community. Here is a sampling of what was learned.

• People with intellectual disabilities who live in the community value their independence and, above all, enjoy being able to express themselves in their own space. Most people also greatly value regular contact with their family.

• 62 out of the 67 people interviewed have experienced some form of harassment, abuse or related crime in the community.

• Neighbours and local residents are among the most common types of perpetrator.

• Where people do report incidents to police or authorities, they want to be taken seriously, to be believed and they want to be kept informed of what’s happening in the case.

The second half of the report describes research yet to be done and proposes a solution. The solution is about asking people in the community to become more aware of, and caring towards people who have intellectual disabilities. The author proposes a "social justice paradigm" and felt that these people became victims of crime due to loneliness and the absence of watchful eyes. Here are the steps she will investigate in the next phase of her research:

-Enhanced social networks for people with learning disabilities.

-Stronger prevention and support services from mainstream organisations.

-Creating civic mindedness and safer public spaces.

Here is an excerpt from her commentary:
"There is also a wider social responsibility. As people are challenged by today’s self-actualising culture to stretch their professional and emotional boundaries, so they must also be challenged to step out of their social comfort zones, to reach out to and stand up for their fellow citizens –people with learning disabilities who need friendship, kindness and respect not just the well meaning support of professionals, important though this is. In doing so, people will be tending a very modern and private yearning: for authentic connection to something and to someone other than themselves."

Information taken from the research paper as viewed on 9/14/12 at: http://esmeefairbairn.org.uk/news-and-learning/publications/loneliness--cruelty Click on the "Web Links" tab above to read the entire paper online.

Contact Info:
Organization:Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Address:Kings Place
90 York Way
London N1 9AG
Phone:011+44+020 7812 3700
Fax:011+44+020 7812 3701
Cost:No Cost

Web Links

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