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Safer-IDD

Image by Teak Sato on Wikimedia Commons

Safer-IDD

Helping people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities at risk under the law.

Safer-IDD is an organisation offering information and resources for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), who are at risk under the law (either as suspects or victims/witnesses). These resources will also support their families, and professionals who are working with the individuals (and families).

An intellectual disability (ID), also referred to as a learning disability, means that an individual may experience difficulties in everyday activities and may need support to communicate, understand complex information and interact with other people. Autistic people may have similar needs and some additional ones (such as sensory sensitivities and highly focused interests). Developmental disabilities like these are chronic conditions, present from early childhood, that can result in challenges in a person’s life, such as in independent living.

Individuals with learning disabilities or intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) can require specialist services for help with trauma (eg as a result of being a victim of a crime) or with behaviours that may be seen as offending or criminal. Access to these services is not always readily available. Additionally, due to potential difficulties in understanding the legal process, individuals may need support and assistance in order to ensure their rights are protected when coming into contact with the police or criminal justice system. These rights are often not recognised.

Safer-IDD is designed to provide guidance and direction to families and to specialist learning disabilities/IDD services, as well as to the individuals themselves, and will offer training for professionals in the provision of these services.

The organisation provides an online resource explaining aspects of the criminal justice system in easy read format for people with learning disabilities/IDD and their families.

Safer-IDD also offers training events to professionals in challenging and offending behaviour, including in risk assessment (ARMADILO and START training), and in the provision of intervention programmes, such as for sexually harmful behaviour (SOTSEC-ID for adults with IDD and Keep Safe for children/young people with learning disabilities/IDD). The focus is on enabling individuals to gain new skills, to live good lives, and to manage their behaviours, thus reducing the risk of harm to others, and harm to themselves through legal or restrictive consequences. Our aim is to improve individual’s lives, and reduce the motivation for risky behaviours through the development and enrichment of relationships, opportunities and experiences, rather than focusing on risk or restrictive practices.

Safer-IDD provides information and resources relevant to a wide range of individuals, from those with autism but no intellectual disability (often referred to as Asperger Syndrome), to those with a mild/moderate learning or intellectual disability. People with severe learning or intellectual disabilities are not usually involved in the criminal justice system (and have support from the charity, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation).