Relationships in residential placement — Scope | Disability forum

Relationships in residential placement

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Scope community team

This discussion was created from comments split from: Sex and our relationship.


  • raxa
    raxa Member Posts: 37 Connected
    hi I am in a big big problem my is 23 years old has autisu,with learning difficulties he meet with this girl in residental placemnet, he has been having sex with girl in residental placement , " I was shocked when he told me that, until now i was in that there just friends, she dosent live far from us , I need advise for this that my son wants to invit her and spend time together in his room and have sex, i am completly aganst to that they are both vaurnable, I take my son to Kingswood centre to therapy give advise on sex and how to stay safe, she says that its fine there adults they need to get some privacy in my house or he moves out and stay at supported living How can allow my son to have under my roof Please please advise Read more at
  • PSHEexpert
    PSHEexpert Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    Hello!  Thank you for getting in touch.  It sounds like this has been quite a shock for you and I can understand that you must be quite worried.

    People with learning disabilities and autism who are over the age of 16 have the same right to an intimate relationship (including sex if they wish) as you or me, as long as they can consent.  It sounds as though the staff working with your son and his girlfriend feel that this is something he can consent to - perhaps they have already had some conversations with them both about it?  They do have the right to privacy also, the same as you or me.  

    In my experience, it is safer for the person with autism or learning disabilities if they are supported by their families/carers in their relationships.  Giving them the opportunity to talk openly and positively about their relationships and their wishes to have sex means that there is more chance for you (as his mum) or his staff or someone like me (safeguarding and behaviour) to make sure that he and his girlfriend are safe, in private, and understand everything that they are doing.  The reality is that having a learning disability or autism does not mean that sexual relationships won't happen.

    You are right, they are both vulnerable - but the less people they can go to and receive help from, the more vulnerable they risk becoming. Although it may be against your wishes for them to have private time under your roof - and that is your choice, it's your house of course - it would be very supportive for him if he knew he could talk openly about it with you. It means that he is more likely to tell you if there has been a problem, or if he is worried about something, or there has been a risk.

    I would suggest having a really good chat with his support workers about it and - if you can bear it - talking with him about it too and finding out more about his relationship.  The worry is that if they don't have safe places to go to, this won't necessarily stop them from having sex, it will just mean they end up going somewhere unsafe to do it, and keep things secret so they are not judged or "told off".  It's a very difficult situation for a parent to be confronted with, so I recommend you talk as much as you can with his staff and with him so that you're not feeling alone in it.   Please get in touch if there is anything I can help with.
    - Gill