The Tizard Centre

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Dr Michelle McCarthy

Reader in Learning Disabilities

Tizard

Michelle McCarthy has a social work background and has worked with people with learning disabilities in a variety of residential and field settings. For four years she was team leader of the Sex Education Team at Harperbury providing a specialist sexuality service to people with learning disabilities and staff.

She has an interest in all matters relating to the sexuality of people with learning disabilities, but has a particular interest in working with women with learning disabilities on issues of relationships, sexuality and reproductive health. She has recently finished a research project looking at domestic violence and women with learning disabilities. For her next piece of research, she is planning to focus on forced marriage and people with learning disabilities.

Dr McCarthy is currently involved with a new research project "My marriage my choice" undertaken by the University of Nottingham. Permission has been given to undertake the first ever analysis of data held by the Forced Marriage Unit on cases involving people with learning disabilities. Read more about the project.

Spotlight series podcast September 2016 Dr McCarthy talks about her research with survivors of domestic violence who have learning diablities and what it revealed about their perpetrators and the barriers to their support.

 

Teaching

The content of her teaching reflects her research interests. Most of Michelle's teaching currently is on two Psychology UG courses - Understanding People with LD and Researching People with LD, but also with contributions to most of the other courses running at the Tizard Centre.

Profile on Youtube

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Article
McCarthy, M. (2017). Learning Disabilities and domestic abuse: an unspoken barrier. Safe: the domestic abuse quarterly [Online]:18-22. Available at: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/research-and-publications/safe/.
McCarthy, M. (2017). What kind of abuse is him spitting in my food?: Reflections on the similarities between disability hate crime, so-called 'mate' crime and domestic violence against women with intellectual disabilities. Disability and Society [Online] 32:595-600. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2017.1301854.
McCarthy, M. (2016). What are the support needs of women with learning disabilities who have been abused? Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 21:39-42. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-09-2015-0036.
McCarthy, M., Hunt, S. and Milne-Skillman, K. (2016). 'I know it was every week, but I can't be sure if it was every day': domestic violence and women with learning disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online] 29:early online version. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jar.12237.
McCarthy, M. (2014). Brick by brick: building up our knowledge base on the abuse of adults with learning disabilities. Tizard Disability Learning Review [Online] 19:130-133. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-12-2013-0051.
McCarthy, M. (2014). Women with intellectual disability: their sexual lives in the 21st Century. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability 39:124-131.
Young, R., Gore, N. and McCarthy, M. (2012). Staff attitudes towards sexuality in relation to gender of people with intellectual disability: A qualitative study. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability [Online] 37:343-347. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2012.704983.
McCarthy, M. (2011). Prescribing contraception to women with intellectual disabilities: GPs attitudes and practices. Sexuality and Disability [Online] 29:339-349. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11195-011-9216-6.
McCarthy, M. (2009). 'It stops the eggs or something': contraception and women with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Today:14-16.
McCarthy, M. (2009). Contraception and women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online] 22:363-369. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3148.2008.00464.x.
McCarthy, M. (2009). 'I have the jab so I can't be blamed for getting pregnant': contraception and women with learning disabilities. Womens Studies International Forum [Online] 32:198-208. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2009.05.003.
McCarthy, M. and Millard, L. (2003). Discussing the menopause with women with learning disabilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities [Online] 31:9-17. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1468-3156.2003.00182.x.
McCarthy, M. (2003). Drawing a line between consented and abusive sexual experiences: the complexities for women with learning difficulties. Journal of Adult Protection 5:34-40.
McCarthy, M. (2002). Going through the menopause: perceptions and experiences of women with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability 27:281-295.
McCarthy, M. and Murphy, G. (2000). Parents with intellectual disabilities: The experience of being sent to a family centre for assessment. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:385-385.
McCarthy, M. (2000). An evaluative research study of a specialist refuge for women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:384-384.
McCarthy, M. (2000). Sexual experiences of women with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:384-384.
McCarthy, M. (2000). Body image and self-esteem: What women with intellectual disabilities feel about their personal appearance. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:384-384.
McCarthy, M. (2000). 'Change of life': The menopause and women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:384-384.
McGill, P. et al. (2000). Better lives for people with learning disabilities: an evidence based strategy for change. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 5:37-44. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13595474200000027.
McCarthy, M. (1998). Whose body is it anyway? Pressures and control for women with learning disabilities. Disability & Society 13:557-574.
McCarthy, M. (1998). Sexual violence against women with learning disabilities. Feminism & Psychology [Online] 8:544-551. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353598084020.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1997). A prevalence study of sexual abuse of adults with intellectual disabilities referred for sex education. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online] 10:105-124. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3148.1997.tb00012.x.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1996). Sexual abuse by design: An examination of the issues in learning disability services. Disability & Society [Online] 11:205-217. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687599650023236.
McCarthy, M. (1996). The sexual support needs of people with learning disabilities: A profile of those referred for sex education. Sexuality and Disability [Online] 14:265-279. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02590099.
Book section
McCarthy, M. (2010). The sexual lives of women with learning disabilities. in: Grant, G. ed. Learning Disability: a life cycle approach (Second Edition). Open University Press, pp. 259-267.
McCarthy, M. (2010). Menstruation and Menopause. in: McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. eds. Sexuality and Learning Disabilities: a handbook. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing, pp. 53-64.
McCarthy, M. (2007). Intimate Lives: sexuality and people with learning disabilities. in: Carnaby, S. ed. Learning Disability Today. 2nd Edition. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing, pp. 183-191.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (2004). People with learning disabilities: Sex,the law and consent. in: Cowling, M. and Reynolds, P. eds. Making Sense of Sexual Consent. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishers.
Book
McCarthy, M. and Millard, L. (2017). Supporting women with learning disabilities through the menopause. A manual and training resource for health and social care workers. Brighton UK: Pavilion Publishing.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (2016). Sex and the 3R's: Rights, Responsibilities and Risks. [Online]. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing. Available at: https://www.pavpub.com/sex-and-the-3-rs/.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (2007). Sex and the 3R's: rights, risks and responsibiliites. A sex education pack for working with people with learning disabilities. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing.
McCarthy, M. (1999). Sexuality and women with learning disabilities. London: jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Research report (external)
Caiels, J. et al. (2010). Development studies for the National Adult Social Care User Experience Survey: technical report. [Online]. Personal Social Services Research Unit. Available at: http://www.pssru.ac.uk/pdf/dp2724.pdf.
Malley, J. et al. (2010). A report on the development studies for the National Social Care User Experience Survey. [Online]. Personal Social Services Research Unit. Available at: http://www.pssru.ac.uk/pdf/dp2721.pdf.
Total publications in KAR: 35 [See all in KAR]

 

 

 

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Research Interests

Michelle has an interest in all matters relating to the personal and sexual relationships of people with learning disabilities, but has a particular interest in working with women with learning disabilities on issues of abuse, sexual and reproductive health.

 

Current Research Projects

Michelle's latest research project looks at domestic violence and women with learning disabilities commissioned and funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research. As part of her findings a video has been released to aid those who have experienced domestic abuse.

Research Supervision

For a number of years Michelle has overseen the PhD programme at the Tizard Centre. In addition, she is currently supervising 5 PhD projects.She would be interested to supervise further qualitative research projects within her broad area of interest. Please feel free to contact her to discuss your ideas.

Past Research

  • Research into sexual experiences and sexual abuse of women with learning disabilities
  • Sexual Abuse Prevalence Study
  • Research into experiences of mothers with learning disabilities referred to Family Centres
  • Evaluative research on Beverley Lewis House (specialist refuge for women with learning disabilities escaping violence and abuse).
  • Research into menopause and women with learning disabilities
  • Research into contraception and women with learning disabilities
  • Research into domestic violence and women with learning disabilities
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Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7LR

Telephone: +44(0)1227 827373 or contact us

Last Updated: 22/11/2016