Sexual Offences Bill [HL]
Lord Adebowale (Crossbench)
I support my noble friend Lord Rix. The organisation Respond, like Turning Point, is very concerned about the lack of clarity on the critical issue of therapy for victims of sexual abuse who have learning disabilities. As the law stands, there is great uncertainty about whether a person with a learning disability will receive therapy, even though therapy can actually help people to deal with the legal process better and with the incredibly emotional pain of abuse.
For too long, people who have been terribly hurt have been denied treatment for dealing with that hurt—an absurdity that must change. We know that abuse wrecks people's lives, yet often therapy is not made available to the victims of abuse. The treatment of people with learning disabilities is characterised by weak assessment procedures, uneven availability of treatment and lengthy delays. Poor service planning and low levels of commissioners' expertise prevent organisations such as Respond from doing their job properly. Funding is often too short term, rather than being matched to individual needs. This critical issue deserves our attention and I thank the noble Lord for bringing it to our notice.