The Tizard Centre

profile image for Dr Michelle McCarthy

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.

Supported Loving Podcast Episode 2: Michelle McCarthy

 

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. et al. (2018). "Put bluntly, they are targeted by the worst creeps society has to offer": Police and professionals' views and actions relating to domestic violence and women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jar.12503.
McCarthy, M., Hunt, S. and Milne-Skillman, K. (2017). '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] 30:269-282. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jar.12237.
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. (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. (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. (2016). What are the support needs of women with learning disabilities who have been abused? Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 21:29-32. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-09-2015-0036.
McCarthy, M. (2014). Women with intellectual disability: their sexual lives in the 21st Century. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability [Online] 39:124-131. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2014.894963.
McCarthy, M. (2014). Brick by brick: building up our knowledge base on the abuse of adults with learning disabilities. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 19:130-133. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-12-2013-0051.
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: https://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. (2010). What kind of future for young people with Down's Syndrome? The views and aspirations of young people and families. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 15:30-33. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5042/tldr.2010.0591.
McCarthy, M. (2010). Exercising choice and control- women with learning disabilities and contraception. British Journal of Learning Disabilities [Online] 38:293-302. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3156.2009.00605.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. (2009). 'It stops the eggs or something': contraception and women with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Today [Online]. Available at: https://www.learningdisabilitytoday.co.uk/ldt-home.
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.
Morentin, R., Jenaro, C. and McCarthy, M. (2008). Love and loving relationships in people with learning disabilities: a scientific approach. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 13:33-41. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/13595474200800016.
Cambridge, P., Carnaby, S. and McCarthy, M. (2003). Responding to masturbation in supporting sexuality and challenging behaviour in services for people with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities [Online] 7:251-266. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/14690047030073005.
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 [Online] 5:34-40. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/14668203200300023.
McCarthy, M. (2002). Responses to women with learning disabilities as they go through the menopause. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 7:4-12. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/13595474200200002.
McCarthy, M. (2002). Going through the menopause: perceptions and experiences of women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability [Online] 27:281-295. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/1366825021000055817.
McCarthy, M. (2001). Women with Learning Disabilities – experiencing their sexuality in a healthy way. Tizard Learning Disability Review [Online] 6:16-21. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/13595474200100004.
McCarthy, M. and Cambridge, P. (2001). User focus groups and Best Value in services for people with learning disabilities. Health and Social Care in the Community [Online] 9:476-489. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0966-0410.2001.00328.x.
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). Sexual experiences of women with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:384-384.
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.
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: https://doi.org/10.1108/13595474200000027.
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). 'Change of life': The menopause and women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44:384-384.
McCarthy, M. (2000). An evaluative research study of a specialist women's refuge. Journal of Adult Protection [Online] 2:29-40. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/14668203200000013.
McCarthy, M. (1998). Sexual violence against women with learning disabilities. Feminism & Psychology [Online] 8:544-551. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353598084020.
McCarthy, M. (1998). Interviewing People with learning disabilities about sensitive topics: a discussion of ethical issues. British Journal of Learning Disabilities [Online] 26:140-145. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3156.1998.tb00070.x.
McCarthy, M. (1998). Whose body is it anyway? Pressures and control for women with learning disabilities. Disability & Society 13:557-574.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1997). A prevalence study of sexual abuse of adults with learning disabilities referred for sex education. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online] 10:105-124. Available at: https://doi-org.chain.kent.ac.uk/10.1111/j.1468-3148.1997.tb00012.x.
McCarthy, M. and Cambridge, P. (1997). Developing and implementing a sexuality policy for a learning disability provider service. Health & Social Care in the Community [Online] 5:227-236. Available at: https://doi-org.chain.kent.ac.uk/10.1111/j.1365-2524.1997.tb00118.x.
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: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02590099.
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. (1993). Sexual Experiences of Women with Learning Difficulties in Long-Stay Hospitals. Sexuality and Disability [Online] 11:277-285. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01102172.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1992). Teaching Difficulties. Community Care [Online]. Available at: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/.
McCarthy, M. (1992). Sexual Awareness. Nursing Times [Online] 88. Available at: https://www.nursingtimes.net/.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1991). The Politics of Sex Education. Community Care [Online]. Available at: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/.
Book section
McCarthy, M. (2018). Domestic violence and women with learning disabilities. in: Bates, C. ed. Sexuality and Learning Disability: a Handbook. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing, pp. 123-133. Available at: https://www.pavpub.com/sexuality-and-learning-disabilities-2nd-edition/.
McCarthy, M. (2011). Intimate Lives: sexuality and people with learning disabilities. in: Carnaby, S. ed. Learning Disability Today. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing. Available at: https://www.pavpub.com/learning-disability-today-3rd-edition/.
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. (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. (2008). Sexuality and women with intellectual disabilities. in: Noonan Walsh, P. and Heller, T. eds. Health of Women with Intellectual Disabilities. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470776162.
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. (2006). Sexuality and intimate and personal care. in: Carnaby, S. and Cambridge, P. eds. Intimate and Personal Care with People with Learning Disabilities. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Available at: https://www.jkp.com/uk/intimate-and-personal-care-with-people-with-learning-disabilities-2.html.
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.
McCarthy, M. and De Burg, C. (2003). My Story. in: Atkinson, D., McCarthy, M. and Walmsley, J. eds. Good Times, Bad Times: women with learning disabilities tell their stories. British Institute of Learning Disabilities.
McCarthy, M. (2003). Sexual abuse and women with learning disabilities. in: Atkinson, D., McCarthy, M. and Walmsley, J. eds. Good Times, Bad Times: women with learning disabilities tell their stories. BILD.
McCarthy, M. (2000). Waarom vrouwen met een verstandilijke handicap hun seksueel leven vaak negatieif ervaren. in: De Belie, E. ed. Seksueel misbruik van mensen met een verstandijke handicap: handboek preventie en hulpverlening. Leuven, Belgium: Acco.
McCarthy, M. (2000). Safety and security: protecting the vulnerable. in: Special Care 2001: finding and funding care for adults with disabilities. Care Choices.
McCarthy, M. (2000). Consent, abuse and choices: women with intellectual disabilities and sexuality. in: Traustadottir, R. and Johnson, K. eds. Women With Intellectual Disabilities: Finding a Place in the World. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Available at: https://www.jkp.com/uk/women-with-intellectual-disabilities-2.html.
McCarthy, M. (1997). HIV and Heterosexual Sex. in: Cambridge, P. and Brown, H. eds. HIV and Learning Disability. Kidderminster, UK: BILD.
McCarthy, M. (1996). Sexual experiences and sexual abuse of women with learning disabilities. in: Hester, M., Kelly, L. and Radford, J. eds. Women, violence, and male power: feminist activism, research, and practice. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1995). No More Double Standards: Sexuality and People with Learning Difficulties. in: Philpot, T. and Ward, L. eds. Values and Visions: Changing Ideas in Services for People with Learning Difficulties. Oxford, UK: Butterworth- Heineman.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1994). HIV and Safer Sex Work with People with Learning Disabilities. in: Craft, A. ed. Practice Issues in Sexuality and Learning Disabilities. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Practice-Issues-in-Sexuality-and-Learning-Disabilities/Craft/p/book/9780415057356.
McCarthy, M. (1994). Against All Odds: HIV and Safer Sex Education for Women with Learning Difficulties. in: Naidoo, J., Doyal, L. and Wilton, T. eds. AIDS: Setting a Feminist Agenda. London, UK: Taylor & Francis.
McCarthy, M. (1993). Practical Aspects of Safer Sex Education for Women with Learning Difficulties. in: Mellan, B. ed. Sexuality and Learning Difficulties: Seminar Papers on Current Practice. London, UK: NWTRHA Publications.
McCarthy, M. (1993). Working with Women with Learning Difficulties Around Sexuality. in: Mellan, B. ed. Sexuality and Learning Difficulties: Seminar Papers on Current Practice. London, UK: NWTRHA Publications.
Monograph
Clawson, R. et al. (2018). My Marriage My Choice. Case Study Collection: Learning from case studies of forced marriage of people with learning disabilities. Univeristy of Nottingham. Available at: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/mymarriagemychoice/documents/case-studies.pdf.
Patterson, A. et al. (2018). My Marriage My Choice. Summary of Findings. Univeristy of Nottingham. Available at: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/mymarriagemychoice/documents/summary-full.pdf.
Caiels, J. et al. (2010). Development studies for the National Adult Social Care User Experience Survey: technical report. 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. Personal Social Services Research Unit. Available at: http://www.pssru.ac.uk/pdf/dp2721.pdf.
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. Second edition. Brighton UK: Pavilion Publishing.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (2016). Sex and the 3 Rs: Rights, Risks and Responsibilities: A Sex Education Pack for Working with People with Learning Disabilities. Fourth edition. [Online]. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing. Available at: https://www.pavpub.com/sex-and-the-3-rs/.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (2008). Sex and the 3 Rs: Rights, Responsibilities and Risks. A sex education pack for working with people with learning disabilities. Third Edition. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing.
McCarthy, M. and Millard, L. (2003). Supporting Women with Learning Disabilities Through the Menopause: A Resource Pack. [Online]. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing. Available at: https://www.pavpub.com/supporting-women-through-menopause/.
McCarthy, M. (1999). Sexuality and women with learning disabilities. London: jessica Kingsley Publishers.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1998). Sex and the 3 Rs: Rights, Responsibilities and Risks. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing.
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. (1992). Sex and the 3 Rs: Rights, Responsibilities and Risks. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing.
Other
Bates, A., Forrester-Jones, R. and McCarthy, M. (2018). Parental views of their child's care and experiences when a cleft lip and/or palate co-exists with a learning disability/need.
Edited book
McCarthy, M. and Thompson, D. eds. (2010). Sexuality and Learning Disability: a Handbook. [Online]. Brighton, UK: Pavilion. Available at: https://www.pavpub.com/sexuality-and-learning-disabilities/.
McCarthy, M., Atkinson, D. and Walmsley, J. eds. (2000). Good Times, Bad Times: women with learning disabilities tell their stories. [Online]. Kidderminster, UK: BILD. Available at: http://www.bild.org.uk/our-services/books/peoples-life-stories/good-times-bad-times/.
Forthcoming
McCarthy, M. (2018). "All I wanted was a happy life": the struggles of women with learning disabilities to raise their children whilst also experiencing domestic violence. Journal of Gender Based Violence.
Bates, A., Forrester-Jones, R. and McCarthy, M. (2018). The experiences of children and young people with a learning disability/need and a cleft lip and/or palate. in: Craniofacial Society of Great Britain & Ireland (CFSGBI) Annual Scientific Meeting.
Total publications in KAR: 77 [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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Think Kent Video: related to domestic violence against 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: 02/10/2018