22nd November 2007


Report on 5th Meeting

 

Minutes

20160315_SHADA Conference_DSCF5763

ATTENDANCE LIST :

Dr Tuppy Owens Outsiders Sex and Disability Helpline (convenor and scribe)

 

Helena Barrow The Chaseley Trust Registered Manager – (chair)

 

Katie Wiltshier Occupational therapist (secretary)

 

Lorna Couldrick Lecturer in health profession work, Brighton University

 

Sue Nathan Outsiders Membership Secretary

 

Julia Pearlman Youthnet journalist

 

Victoria McKenzie Freelance trainer

 

Debbee Arthur Respond helpline manager

 

Kevin Reel College of Occupational Therapists – Education and Development Manager

 

Tom Presland Leonard Cheshire

 

Mary Foster – Sense

 

Kate Wilkinson – Chaseley Trust

 

Ariana  Chevalier – Sex Worker (Escort and Holistic Sex Coach)  (speaker)

 

Greg Sams – Chair of the Outsiders Trust

 

Tracey Wood – Leonard Cheshire

 

George O’Neill – Derbyshire PCT

 

Simone van Sluytman - Stars in the Sky

 

Graham Jowett – Director of Education for Treloar Trust (speaker)

 

Linda Lewis  - Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

 

John Blandford – Criminal Lawyer (speaker)

 

Carol Milne – Independent Living Solutions

 

Torie Appleyard – Psychosexual Therapist

 

Simon Parrit - Psychosexual Therapist

 

Ian Richards – Erotic Awards

 

 

APOLOGIES:

Wayne Chapman, Jo Cumming, Marianne Scobie, Clare Fanstone, Lynn Hearton, Adam Thomas, Eleni Stephani, Barry Jones, Meg Barker, David Goldmeier, Elizabeth Carlier, Peter Cardew, Alex Iantaffi, Kate Glass, Penny Tomlinson, Heather Stevenson

 

ACTION

-         Lorna to contact Wayne at RNIB

-         Katie to contact Peter White

-         Victoria to ask permission for summary of policy to be put onto Outsiders website

-         Lorna to source copy of Davina McColl’s program and circulate

-         All interested SHADA member to review NICE guidelines on depo contraception (www.nice.org.uk) and make comment on whether they agree with it or not.  If the consensus is that these guidelines should be changed, we need to do something about it.

-         Tom Presland to send Leonard Cheshire policy re. sex to Tuppy

-         Discuss ways of targeting ‘tops’ of organisations (professional bodies, trusts/organisations) to give permission for sex to be included on the disability agenda. Lorna and Tuppy to draft document for this.

-         Compile a short hand-out regarding the legal position re. calling sex workers and ask John Blandford to endorse it.

-         Katie to gather information on mission statements, including and how to formulate them and examples

 

 

The next meeting will be on Thursday April 17th from 11am to 3pm (networking till 4pm) at a London venue to be announced later.

Topics will include:

~ Developing a mission statement for SHADA

~ Discussing ways of targeting ‘tops’ of organisations to give permission for sex to be included on the disability agenda.

~ Steve Shears from Headway: dealing with sexual disinhibition after brain injury.

 

 

  1. Introductions All present introduced themselves and their reasons for attending.

 

  1. Matters arising from the minutes

-         Lorna has not contacted RNIB as yet.  She will contact Wayne to find out who has replaced Christine Thomas and find out any progress that has been made in adding sex to the daily living section of the RNIB website.

-         Katie was unable to approach Peter White at the College of Occupational Therapists Conference in June.  She will try and contact him via the BBC.

-         Victoria has circulated background information to SHADA members regarding policies around mental capacity/consent from her work in NYC.  If anyone would like a copy, please contact Katie or Victoria (tormc3@yahoo.com).  Victoria will ask for permission for a summary of this policy to be posted on the Outsiders website.

-         Tuppy has put a list on the TLC trust website (www.tlc-trust.org) of how healthcare professionals can assess if a sex worker is OK to use with a disabled client when calling them for the first time.

-         Helena will arrange to meet John Blandford, who presented at this meeting for further discussion

-         Tuppy sent the number of a stripper – Solitaire – to Helena, following which Kate organised an event for 2 strippers to entertain residents (who had chosen to attend) at Chaseley Trust.  The event went very well and Helena recommended Solitaire for anyone considering booking a stripper for their disabled clients.  Although Chaseley Trust solicitors had suggested a music and dance license may have been required for this event, John Blandford disagreed and said a license was not necessary for such a one-off event.

-         Tuppy does not have a copy of Davina McColl’s sex education in schools program – Lorna will try and get hold of a copy and circulate it.

-         No-one had reviewed NICE guidelines on depo contraception (www.nice.org.uk) since the last meeting.

 

ACTION

-         Lorna to contact Wayne at RNIB

-         Katie to contact Peter White

-         Victoria to ask permission for summary of policy to be put onto Outsiders website

-         Lorna to source copy of Davina McColl’s program and circulate

-         All interested SHADA member to review NICE guidelines on depo contraception and make comment on whether they agree with it or not.  If the consensus is that these guidelines should be changed, we need to do something about it.

 

  1. Presentation: Graham Jowett – Director of Education at Treloar Trust

 

Background: Treloar College (www.treloar.org.uk) is a residential specialist college for physically and/or learning disabled young people, aged between 17 and 22 years old.  Given this age range, the focus of the college is transition to adulthood. There are 175 students at the college, mostly residential.  The College is funded by the Learning and Skills Council.  Graham reported that the students enrolling at the College are presenting with increasingly complex needs.  For example around 20% have life-limiting conditions, and there are an increasing number of technologically-dependent students.  Around 80% are wheelchair users.  In addition to physical disabilities, the young people at Treloar can also present with additional sensory impairments, epilepsy and overt mental health issues.  Graham reported difficulties in accessing CAMHS services for students who had physical disabilities in addition to their mental health needs.  There are 370 staff at the College including teams of therapists (occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists) as well as a health centre and links with local hospices.  Many of the students at Treloar have been in mainstream education previously, and make a positive choice to come to Treloar as the College is able to take care of their disability needs, freeing them to focus on other things.

 

Graham started working at Treloar in 1995, with a background as a mental health social worker.  At that time, there were two issues at the College – sexuality was not discussed, and there was a policy in place prohibiting intimate sexual contact within the grounds as well as a policy that students had to dress formally.  As principal of the College at that time, Graham was approached by both students (regarding lack of privacy) and staff (who felt exposed and unsure of their boundaries regarding student needs to express their sexuality).

 

However as sexual expression and exploration were recognised as a key part of adolescence, Graham gathered a group of staff, students and parents, giving them the task of coming up with policies and procedures for students to express their sexuality. The policy was to be inclusive, covering gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. The policy took a year to develop – it was called the SAFE policy.  A barrister was then consulted regarding the issue of informed consent.  The guidelines regarding implementation of the policy were very specific.  Staff were able to opt out, but had to be neutral in doing so.

 

Posters are placed around the College to promote the SAFE policy and student rights regarding sexual expression, and there is a supportive team in place.  The SAFE policy is also in the student handbook and all parents/guardians are made aware of its existence when sending a child to the College.  In a nutshell, if students are over 16 and are able to consent, they can engage in whatever they want to, as long as it is legal.  Choices and risks are discussed with students, and teaching given on safe sex, but the final choice is left up to individual students.  Students are encouraged to organise their own activities to develop their independence, including planning trips out of College.  For example, one student organised his own visit to a massage parlour in Oxford.  Graham has had no negative attitudes towards the SAFE policy recently, though some staff left when the policy was first introduced 8 years ago.

 

Regarding issues of power between service users and staff, College staff can facilitate, support and enable but staff will not be involved in actually stimulating someone.  Staff can position a person and support someone to get pornographic material or sex aids (if they are over 18), but have to make it clear to the individual that this material is strictly not to be seen by anyone under 18 years old.  Staff also have to be very clear about boundaries.  As yet, the College have not had any sex workers on site, due to legal concerns and concerns about repercussions.

 

Graham sees having the chance to experiment with sex as part of the transition to adulthood.  However the situation for young people with disabilities is different to those without disabilities.  The relationship between parent and child is often skewed, with no secrecy allowed for the young person.  Paradoxically, many young people may have had to make big decisions about their life such as operations, at a young age though are excluded from some roles such as having a Saturday job.  At some point, parents have to address their child’s emerging sexuality though many do not know how to approach this, and are grateful to the College for addressing the subject.

 

In order to protect students, there are also guidelines for recognising when someone is being manipulated or harassed by other students.  In addition, there are legislative safeguards including Protection of Children and Protection of Vulnerable Adults.

 

In general, the SAFE policy has been a success and is a positive example of what can be done to enable sexual expression for young people with disabilities.

 

Discussions from this presentation covered the following:

 

-         Contrary to Graham’s positive comments from parents, others have experienced complaints from family members regarding enabling sex for older adults.  Many disabled people had not been offered a chance for sexual expression before and relatives are reluctant to change the status quo.

-         Tuppy said most people join Outsiders when they are 30 years plus.  This is perhaps because teenagers have other mainstream avenues to meet friends/ partners.  However Simone reported that Stars in the Sky have many young members who have not been successful in mainstream venues.

-         Consensus of opinion that permission to discuss sex needs to come from the ‘top’ for this topic to be successfully embraced and addressed by staff, such as Graham as principal of Treloar College.  For example, healthcare professionals need permission to discuss sex-related issues with clients, as this often has not been covered on their training.  These professionals need the support of their governing body such as the Health Professions Council, etc.

-         Criminal law is much less of a threat to health care professionals than their governing body…

-         No particular health professional who is responsible for addressing sex – usually relies on one person who is interested in this area to push the agenda, but no lasting effect.

-         There is a general lack of training of staff at all levels that needs to be addressed.  Sometimes a gentle approach is required to get the message across, at other times a stronger approach, depending on the situation.  Just because sexuality is not addressed, doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue…

-         Problem is that many health professionals don’t want to address sex…Helena got a poor reception when she mentioned sex as part of recreation at the recent European Platform of Rehabilitation Services.

-         Possibly difficult for a non-disabled person to run training on sex and disability, as all disabled people have individual needs, and different areas of disability need different approaches.  You can’t necessarily clump together people with one disability and list the sexual problems that they all share, because they may not share the same problems.

-         George has set up an interest group re. sex and learning disabilities over the internet and has got a good response.

-         Can use sex workers to enable couples to have sex.  Disabled people used to having someone else around so not as intrusive as it might seem.

-         Leonard Cheshire have policies regarding sex but they don’t seem to be used in practice.

-         We need a set of core values so people can use these to base their work around.

 

ACTION

 

-         Tom Presland to send Leonard Cheshire policy re. sex to Tuppy

-         Discuss ways of targeting ‘tops’ or organisations (professional bodies, trusts/organisations) to give permission for sex to be included on the disability agenda.

 

  1. Presentation: Ariana Chevalier – ‘Sex Worker of the Year’

 

Ariana gave a very interesting presentation covering:

 

 

Ariana also spoke about her work generally including some of the more specialist areas she have developed, including Sensual Awakening/Tantra sessions, Holistic Sex Coaching (sexual confidence and skill building) and Practice Partner (Relationship Development Skills).

 

Please see handouts for further information.

 

Discussion arising from presentation:

-         How to find a male sex worker: more difficult to find a straight male sex worker as most work with men.  Regular search engines are not reliable – best to use TLC website – www.tlc-trust.org.uk

 

5. Presentation: John Blandford – Criminal Lawyer, specialising in supporting those working in the sex industry.

 

John’s presentation covered legal issues regarding sex and disability, especially in relation to the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

 

The contents of this informative talk are covered in a paper, prepared by John that will accompany these minutes.

 

However, there was one point that came up several times that is worth highlighting:

 

It is NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN an offence (under English law) to call a sex worker either for yourself OR ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE ELSE as long as the person consents.

 

Discussion point from presentation:

-         Even though it is legal to call a sex worker, the popular belief is that it is illegal and this will be difficult to challenge. Need to find a way around this.

-         Tuppy suggested that we compile a short hand-out which John Blandford endorses, to give out to people who don’t believe the above.

 

Action: Compile a short hand-out regarding the legal position re. calling sex workers and ask John Blandford to endorse it.

 

 

  1. Any Other Business

 

-         We need to prepare a mission statement for SHADA, to send with a press release to professional bodies, etc.

 

-         The highly commended book – ‘Sex at the Margins – Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry’ by Laura Maria Agustin (Zed Books 1988) demonstrates how many migrants are happy working in the sex industry and the real problem are the ‘do-gooders’ who try to rescue them.

 

-         Ideas for new books:

Ø      One with different chapters for each talk at SHADA.  It could cover visual impairment, sex workers,  the law, Treloar College as an example of good practice, and Pru’s experience as a sex worker with a learning disabled client.

Ø      A guide for sex workers who see disabled clients – could cover general information that would be useful, as long as it is clear that disabled people have very individual needs (like all of us).

 

-         Training and supervision for sex workers: Ariana suggested the following could be implemented in the sex industry, as part of her vision for the future ~

Ø      First aid as part of training for sex workers

Ø      Code of Conduct for Sex Workers including health and safety, boundaries

Ø      Network of sex workers to support each other and offer supervision

 

-         Idea of topic for Autumn meeting is ‘Sex and Spina Bifida’

 

 

  1. Venue, Time, Focus and Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Thursday April 17th from 11am to 3pm (networking till 4pm) at a London venue to be announced later.

Topics will include:

Ø      Developing a mission statement for SHADA

Ø      Discussion of how to persuade people at ‘the top’ to take sex seriously and allow us to do as we wish.  This is the Home Secretary downwards and includes funders and professional bodies.

Ø      Steve Shears from Headway: dealing with sexual disinhibition after brain injury.