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Handle with care: providing pre-trial therapy for adults with learning disabilities

Clare Le Roux (Self-Employed Counsellor for People with Learning Disabilities, based in Devon, UK)
Mandy Leach (Community Learning Disability Nurse Specialist, based at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Exeter, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 5 August 2014




The purpose of this paper is to highlight the provision of therapy for witnesses who have a learning disability prior to and following a criminal trial. Authors will reflect on clinical practice whilst stressing that this area of work is in its infancy and both continue to learn through continued reflection and each new experience.


The paper broadly describes the nature of pre-trial therapy followed by reflection by a Counsellor and Supervisor on their clinical practice.


Authors describe some of the common themes that arise whilst providing pre-trial therapy.

Social implications

The authors hope that the paper will encourage professionals involved in Safeguarding cases to fully consider the emotional needs of victims and to seek timely therapeutic support where the need presents. They also hope that it will encourage practitioners from various professions to consider providing this specialist and delicate type of therapy whilst highlighting the need for good supervision.


There is a paucity of written information about this specific subject area. Although safeguarding of vulnerable adults has grown considerably over the last decade and investigations are now more likely to lead to legal action, the availability of emotional support for victims who have learning disabilities needs to be addressed.



Le Roux, C. and Leach, M. (2014), "Handle with care: providing pre-trial therapy for adults with learning disabilities", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 232-243.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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