Page last updated at 01:00 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 02:00 UK

Learning disability sex campaign

Poster campaign to highlight the rights of people with learning disabilities to sex and relationships (FPA/PA Wire)
The It's My Right! campaign is being launched with a series of posters

A campaign for the rights of people with learning disabilities to have sex and relationships is being launched.

The FPA, formerly the Family Planning Association, has produced an information pack on the issue to coincide with a series of posters.

It follows research showing people with learning difficulties are often denied help on pursuing relationships.

The FPA says they must be equipped with the right skills to enjoy relationships without putting themselves at risk.

Julie Bentley, chief executive of FPA, said living independently meant more than "qualifications and securing a job".

"Expressing your sexuality and enjoying a relationship is something everyone values," she said.

Appropriate support must be in place, so that people with a learning disability can make informed decisions about sex
Dame Jo Williams, Mencap

"But poor sex education and fears about exploitation can stand in the way of this happening for people with learning disabilities.

"Information and skills must be available to people with learning disabilities so they can enjoy intimate relationships without putting themselves at risk."

Joseph Greene, 23, from Islington in north London, is one of the poster models for the It's My Right! campaign.

"I want to meet a girl I can become friends with, take to the pub and the cinema and then after a couple of months see where it goes," he said. "But it's difficult out there."

Dame Jo Williams, chief executive of Mencap, said people with a learning disability should not be denied the right to develop personal relationships because of prejudice or lack of accessible information.

"However, appropriate support must be in place, so that people with a learning disability can make informed decisions about sex, and those who don't have the capacity to consent to sexual activity, must be protected," she added.


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