Change that leads to better lives

The Right to a Relationship

People with learning disabilities want to love and be loved. They are often denied their right to sexual relationships.


Our research with My Life My Choice looked at what can help. This research was paid for by the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

People with learning disabilities want to develop and sustain intimate relationships just like everyone else, but they often face barriers to exercising this fundamental human right. Everyone has a right to develop and experience intimate relationships, which are an important part of personal relationships and include both romantic and sexual relationships.

My Life My Choice have made three videos related to this research project. These are about:

  1. Why and how we did the research?
  2. The barriers people with learning disabilities face in having sexual relationships.
  3. What is good support around sexual relationships.

Ad. 1 The Power Up team have been conducting research into relationships among people with learning disabilities with the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).

Ad. 2 Video from our Power Up research project into relationships for people with learning disabilities.

Ad. 3 A video from our Power Up research into relationships for people with learning disabilities.

Focusing on the experiences of people living in Oxfordshire our aim was to provide evidence to make a convincing case for change within services and people’s lives, and to use knowledge gained through the research to campaign for change. This was a co-produced research project with self-advocates (Pam Bebbington, Jackie Scarrott, Dawn Wiltshire) and supporters (Lisa Davidson, Jess Tilling) from My Life My Choice; and researchers from NDTi (Vicky Mason-Angelow, Agnes Turnpenny, Anna Marriott) working together in all stages of the project. Doing research together taught us lots of new things. We believe this kind of approach is important so that local authority managers and providers are interviewed and challenged by people with learning disabilities who can share their lived experience of the issues being explored, not just professional researchers.

Please click here to download the research findings, the full report and the easy read version.

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