Supporting people with disabilities in Ireland to have a positive sexual identity

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The Irish Sex Education Network (ISEN) is the leader in promoting professional standards and best practice in the area of relationship and sex education within the disability sector in Ireland. The ISEN was established in response to the increase in the number of allegations of sexual abuse of people with disability and their vulnerability, due to lack of appropriate education protection and health services. The network is run by a voluntary committee representing adults with disabilities, organisations and parents of children with disabilities.

The vision of the ISEN is for people with disabilities to enjoy equal access to appropriate and accessible relationships and sexuality education and sexual health services. The ISEN provides training opportunities on the subject of sex education for men and women with disabilities, their parents and staff working in the disability sector.

In 2008 the ISEN decided to increase the representations of parents and people with disabilities in our membership. It was the first year where four of the six training days were offered to parents and people with disabilities.

One of the current goals of the ISEN is to link more directly with men and women who have a disability, with a view to establishing a sub-committee. The ISEN has established a Peer Support Group for men and women, which meets on a monthly basis in Dublin. The men and women lead the sessions and in addition to getting opportunities to socialize with new people, great learning takes place from peer support and sharing information.

In April 2009, ISEN ran a Celebrating Women’s Day, followed in May by a Celebrating Men’s Day. Both events, which focused on health promotion, were very popular.

Further training dates are planned for parents and staff in 2009. Please contact us to get information regarding these dates. If you would like to get involved in the ISEN or to become a member, you can contact: emailing isentraining@yahoo.co-uk; tel: 087-6284538.

Left: Peer Support Meeting participants
Top left: Peer Support Meeting participants from Clare
Top right: Celebrating Women’s Day in April

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