Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill: consultation

Closes 21 Apr 2024

Relationships

Children, young people and adults that have a learning disability or are neurodivergent have the right to the same opportunities as anyone else to live satisfying and valued lives and, to be treated with the same dignity and respect. They should be able to develop and maintain relationships and get the support they need. However there are a range of barriers that prevent some neurodivergent people, and people with learning disabilities, from having healthy and fulfilling relationships. This often causes loneliness, social isolation, poor mental health, and trauma. 

What can the Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence (LDAN) Bill do?

Proposal 1: Access to Independent Advocacy

Another section of this consultation discusses independent advocacy. We would like views on any specific circumstances where a right to independent advocacy could make a difference. With regards to this section on relationships, this could include:

  1. where a parent with learning disabilities is at risk of their child being taken into care; and,
  2. where a neurodivergent person or person with learning disabilities have disclosed gender-based violence or abuse. This would aim to enable them access to justice and support (as recommended in Unequal Unheard).

Proposal 2: Data

The overarching section of this consultation sets out some broad proposals on data. With regards to relationships, we could consider data collection on the following:  

  1. Data collection and reporting on gender-based violence affecting women with learning disabilities (as recommended in Unequal Unheard).
  2. Data collection and reporting on the number of parents with learning disabilities in Scotland, including where their children have been removed from their care. This acknowledges that there is currently a lack of knowledge of this population which may impact on the availability and range of services provided.

Proposal 3: Inclusive communications

We have made some proposals on inclusive communications, and we have asked for views on particular situations where a strengthened right to and focus on inclusive communications would have an impact. With regards to relationships, we could explore the following: 

  1. Where a person with learning disabilities is at risk of having their child removed from their care. This could include information automatically being provided in easy-read, and support provided by professionals who have specialist training in learning disabilities.
  2. Where a neurodivergent person, or person with learning disabilities, has disclosed gender-based violence or abuse and is interacting with the justice system. This could include information automatically being provided in easy-read, and support provided by professionals who have specialist training in learning disabilities.

Proposal 4: National and Local Strategies

We have set out a proposal for national and local strategies. As part of this, we could explore whether those strategies should include the following with regard to relationships:  

  1. Local authorities to set out how a multi-disciplinary team and Whole Family Approach is being implemented to proactively support neurodivergent parents and parents with learning disabilities, including reporting on and evaluating this approach.
  2. Police Scotland to set out how people with learning disabilities are provided specialist support to report crimes, including gender-based violence and abuse.
  3. Local authorities or Education authorities to set out how Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education is provided to all Additional Support Needs learners. 
  4. Local authorities to set out how they provide services to neurodivergent people and people with learning disabilities to enable them to be active and involved in their communities and meeting other people, rather than being isolated at home as is often the case. This could include evaluating the impact of these services.

Proposal 5: Accountability

Another section of the consultation sets out options for increased accountability. This includes proposals for a new Commission/er specifically for neurodivergent people and people with learning disabilities, as well as considering changes to the power and remit of existing Commissions or Commissioners.  

If a new or existing body had powers of investigation they may be able to investigate ongoing and historic cases of child removal from parents with learning disabilities, based on their disability.

Please tell us what you think.

Related information

Consultation Questions

The questions in this document refer to information contained in our consultation document and various alternative formats which can all be found here

You need only answer questions in the sections most relevant to you.

Which of these proposals do you agree with (if any), please tell us why?
Which of these proposals do you not agree with (if any), please tell us why?
Is there anything else that we should consider in relation to relationships?