Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law
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Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law

Edited by Chris Ashford and Alexander Maine

This innovative and thought-provoking Research Handbook explores not only current debates in the area of gender, sexuality and the law but also points the way for future socio-legal research and scholarship. It presents wide-ranging insights and debates from across the globe, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Australia, with contributions from leading scholars and activists alongside exciting emergent voices.
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Chapter 19: Thats a bit of a minefield: supported decision making in intellectually disabled peoples intimate lives

Rosie Harding and Ezgi Taşcıoğlu

Abstract

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.

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