Books to combat domestic abuse amongst people with learning disabilities

beyond-wordsWorld Human Rights Day, on 10 December, will see the launch of two new books, created to combat domestic abuse amongst people with learning disabilities. The books communicate through pictures, allowing the reader to reflect on their own experience, explore the issues involved and gain knowledge and confidence in how to access help. Supporting text is provided containing information about resources and expert organisations. This innovative form of communication has been refined over 25 years since the first book in the Beyond Words Series, When Dad Died, was created.

The two new additions to the Books Beyond Words series, When Dad Hurts Mum and Finding a Safe Place from Abuse, will be launched at the House of Lords on 10 December, with speeches from Baroness Sheila Hollins (Beyond Words), Baroness Patricia Scotland (EDV Global Foundation), Dr Noëlle Blackman (Respond), and Jenny Cashman (Beverley Lewis House).

The books were produced by Beyond Words in partnership with Eliminate Domestic Violence Global Foundation (EDV Global Foundation) and Respond. Domestic abuse affects millions of women in the UK and women with learning disabilities are even more at risk of becoming involved in an abusive relationship. This additional vulnerability and the lack of easily accessible materials for those affected acted as a catalyst for producing these books.

Baroness Sheila Hollins has worked at length with co-authors Baroness Patricia Scotland, Dr Noëlle Blackman and a team of experts in the field of domestic abuse, experts by experience, support workers and people with learning disabilities. Through 18 months of research, debate and planning, we have produced two robust books to support those who experience domestic abuse.

Here is what our authors and advisors have to say about the book:

“People with learning disabilities are often silent witnesses of painful things with their own distress being ignored or misunderstood. These two new books highlight the experience of someone who is first an observer and then a victim/survivor herself. The growing outrage about domestic abuse now includes attention to the needs of people who may be less able to express their fears and the danger they are in.” Baroness Sheila Hollins (Author)

“I’m very proud of this book. We worked hard on it to produce a resource that will help people deal with the issues surrounding domestic violence. The book was developed as a partnership that will reach a new audience. The pictures are effective in conveying the message to people who may have difficulty reading or communicating with words.” Baroness Patricia Scotland (Author)

“I find Books Beyond Words invaluable in the therapeutic work that I undertake with people with learning disabilities who have experienced abuse and trauma. These two books about domestic violence will be a great new resource to enable people with learning disabilities, who may have had similar experiences, to share their thoughts and feelings about something which often remains too difficult to talk about.” Dr Noëlle Blackman, Chief Executive, Respond (Author)

“When we were researching the topic of domestic violence with women with learning disabilities, the lack of accessible materials was something that was raised many times. Accessible materials on sensitive topics are important for people with learning disabilities to help validate their own experiences and to help them see there could be a way out of the difficult situation they are in. I therefore welcome the publication of these two new books.” Dr Michelle McCarthy, Principal Investigator on the Domestic Violence and Women with Learning Disabilities Research Project, Tizard Centre, University of Kent (Advisor)

The books will:

• provide a communication and support tool for mainstream and specialist services who work with women who have experienced domestic abuse

• empower survivors of domestic abuse to talk about and deal with their own difficult experiences.

About Beyond Words

Beyond Words produces books, eBooks and other resources for people who find it easier to understand pictures than words. Books Beyond Words use pictures to tell stories that engage and empower people, on themes such as love and relationships, health, death and dying, and crime. They are also a tool for professionals to use with people in many different teaching and counselling situations. As well as a story told in pictures, each Books Beyond Words title has written information, guidelines and resources for readers, families, supporters and professionals. Find out more at


Accessibility Tools

Discover more from Enable Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading