matecrimeThe Association for Real Change (ARC) has launched a challenge to make providers aware of mate crime and set a standard for services in tackling it.

The Real Change Challenge: Mate Crime was launched at the Learning Disability Today Exhibition at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, last week [14 May], which was attended by local service providers, people with learning disabilities, carers and professionals.

This is the second in a series of challenges for the organisation, its members and providers of services in the learning disability sector.

Improving quality of life
The Real Change Challenges’ main focus is to improve the quality of life for people with a learning disability or autism. Integral to this focus is challenging the way ARC works and to demonstrate the Association for Real Change is really that – an association of change. ARC will be asking the sector to challenge itself to make a change or to showcase positive changes that have already been made. The Challenges will be launched throughout 2013 and will be based on tackling pertinent issues within the learning disability sector.

At the Learning Disability Today Exhibition, ARC presented the draft version of the Mate Crime: a challenge for providers for delegates to read and consider what they need to do to meet it. ARC has been raising awareness of mate crime through the Safety Net project, which gained more funding in 2012 to enable people with learning disabilities to become trainers and train others to look out for mate crime, tackle it and keep safe.

Raising awareness of mate crime
The draft challenge includes detailed outcome statements, or ‘I statements’, which are a precursor for learning disability providers to think about developing services to deliver these outcomes.

Jacqui Bell, chief executive of ARC, said the organisation was pleased to launch the challenge at the Learning Disability Today Exhibition: “Raising awareness of mate crime and ensuring that people with learning disabilities are safe and confident to make the most of the same opportunities you and I have is something that is extremely important to us.

“Friendships are a basic human need, but making good, genuine friendships is never easy and there are people out there who try to take advantage. Through the Mate Crime Real Change Challenge we’re asking the learning disability sector to step up and actively encourage the reporting of mate crime and enable the people they support to make friends safely.”