Us Too Project: Women with learning disabilities standing up to domestic abuse

‘Us Too’ is a user-led project, taking place in Cornwall and Devon, on domestic abuse and learning disability/autism.

The project will:

  • offer free training for women and girls with learning disability or autism, and for the staff who support them.
  • provide advice on best practice and policy for social care providers and commissioners.
  • consult with domestic abuse/sexual violence services (DASV) on improving their accessibility.
  • look to work with a national umbrella organisation for DASV providers to disseminate best practice.

Some of the ‘Us Too’ Project Team Members

Us Too Project Overview

Phase 1

Us Too will recruit a team of women with learning disabilities with experience of domestic abuse/sexual violence. This team will explore their experiences, and use these to design and deliver peer education workshops, and to staff supporting people with learning disabilities, mostly in social care.

The team will also support social care providers to introduce/improve their policy on domestic abuse, and will work with commissioners to disseminate best practice throughout the sector.

Phase 2

The Us Too team will build on the work of Phase 1 to design and deliver training and guidance for women’s centres, rape crisis/sexual abuse services and refuges across Devon and Cornwall

Phase 3

The learning from Phase 2 will be taken to a national umbrella organisation for sexual crisis services to be disseminated nationally, in the form of guidance, teaching resources and a 2-day training event.


Key Targets

1) Peer education workshops. We aim to carry out 25 sessions with 8 women in each session. Workshops will cover:

  • What do good/bad relationships look like?
  • What is domestic abuse?
  • How can I avoid it?
  • What can I do if it is happening to me?
  • How can I report it and what will happen if I do?

2) Professionals’ workshops. We aim to carry out 25 sessions with 16 social care staff in each. Workshops will cover:

  • What is domestic abuse?
  • Indicators of abuse
  • How to support women at risk of abuse
  • How to support women experiencing abuse

3) Support service providers to review their safeguarding policies and procedures and other related policies, to improve prevention, detection and reporting of domestic abuse.

4) Share best practice and guidance with Local Authority Commissioners.

5) Deliver guidance and training to counsellors from 8 sexual crisis services in the far South West, with 8-10 Counsellors in each workshop. Workshops will cover:

  • recognising learning disability.
  • communication skills.
  • networking with learning disability providers.
  • service provision and accessibility for women with a learning disability.

6) Offer training and information on the learning outcomes of the whole project to 15 counsellors from a national umbrella organisation, with a view to national dissemination through their membership and networks. This will include advice on service accessibility, including online.

7) Produce a video which will include interviews with women with a learning disability who are survivors of Domestic Abuse or Sexual Violence.

Can you help us? Can we help you?

We have recruited women with learning disabilities/autism with experience of domestic abuse/sexual violence to write and deliver training for their peers, social care staff, and Domestic Abuse services across Devon and Cornwall.

From the Autumn the team will deliver free training to women with learning disabilities and to staff who support them in a range of settings.

Please contact our project lead if . . .

  • you are aware of any women who might be interested in joining the Us Too team,
  • or would like to book a free half-day workshop for women or girls with learning disabilities/autism,
  • or to book staff training.

Project Lead

March 2019