Animation of the back of three women supporting each other with woman support woman written on their t-shirts

Sexual violence – if in doubt, reach out

Shocking research tells us that autistic adults and people with learning disabilities are 1.5 times more likely to experience sexual violence and abuse than their non-disabled counterparts (WHO 2012)

Sometimes it’s hard to detect, but the impact of sexual violence and abuse can be long-lasting and devastating. That’s why when SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support) applied to our Community Fund for a Big Changes grant to expand into Somerset, we said an equally big yes.

SARSAS is a specialist charity supporting women who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any point in their lives. So if in doubt, please reach out.

SARSAS is now receiving Discovery’s Community Fund to provide a specialist support service for autistic women and women with learning disabilities living in Somerset who have experienced rape or sexual violence.

We want autistic women and women with learning disabilities who have experienced rape or sexual violence to have what they need for trauma recovery, increased well-being, and to feel empowered.

If you are (or know of) an autistic woman or a woman with learning disabilities that is experiencing or has experienced any form of sexual violence, please know that support is here – even if you feel confused or unsure about what took place.

Speak with women that can help you know and grow

SARSAS offer up to six months of one-to-one trauma-informed support with a specialist support worker, providing both practical and emotional support, including how to:

  • Manage feelings
  • Develop healthy sleep routines,
  • Building confidence,
  • Have healthy relationships,

SARSAS was granted the Community Fund this summer and has supported 15 people across Somerset in their first quarter alone.

Here is some feedback given by someone who has been supported:

‘My Specialist Support Worker understood my disability and gave me time and patience to understand and learn new skills. I have learnt what boundaries are and what respect means. The support she has given me is beyond words, she is amazing and what I have learnt I will treasure forever’

Join a circle of women and grow together

As well as a 1:1 support service Sarsas has an established learning disabilities and autism advisory group that meet every 8 weeks to input into Sarsas. Members are autistic women and women with learning disabilities with lived experience.

SARSAS are excited to be offering new workshops about healthy relationships and consent in the new year.

To find out more, or make a referral go to the SARSAS website, or by email or call 01823324944.

SARSAS are always happy to answer any questions or talk to people and organisations, so if in doubt – reach out.

Similarly, if you are an organisation in Somerset that wants to help autistic adults and people with learning disabilities #GetMoreFromLife but needs a funding hand to do so see our Community Fund here.