Sex and People with Disabilities: A Human Right

Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent today called on the South Australian Government to help people with disabilities achieve the human right of sexual expression.

Ms Vincent has joined with NSW sex worker and founder of Touching Base Rachel Wotton, and with Denise Beckwith of People with Disabilities Australia to launch her campaign.

She will be calling on the South Australian Parliament to recognise the benefit of sex workers for people with disabilities by supporting the decriminalisation of sex work Bill being presented by Labor MP Steph Key.

“Many people with disabilities are able to access sexual expression without any extra help, but for some people their physical or intellectual condition, communication difficulties or living situation can make it very difficult to find a sexual partner,” said Ms Vincent.

“For these people sex workers who are skilled in dealing with the needs of people with disabilities are essential. I believe it is time for the community to recognise that people with disabilities are sexual beings, just like the rest of the population.”

Ms Vincent says sexual expression is a human right. It is recognised in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs above other rights such as employment.

As well as asking the Parliament to consider the needs of people with disabilities while debating Ms Key’s Bill, she will also be lobbying the State Government to build a policy which supports the provision of sex workers for people with disabilities.

“It is the job of Governments to uphold and help facilitate the human rights of their citizens,” said Ms Vincent.

“I am calling on the Weatherill Government to create a permissive public sector culture which allows people with disabilities access to sex workers even if they are living in state-funded accommodation.

“I am also asking that our Government consider funding the provision of some sexual services which may have mental or physical health benefits for people with disabilities.”

In Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany sexual assistants for people with disabilities are given legal status. The Government in Denmark is leading the way in this area by allocating Government funding for their services.