Irish group calls for law reform, as MP suggests disabled people could receive sex grants

German politician says people could get assistance paid for by the state

Irish group calls for law reform, as MP suggests disabled people could receive sex grants

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A disability rights group is highlighting the need for law reform in the area of sexual health.

Inclusion Ireland say there is a need for people with disabilities to be given training and capacity building in this area.

It comes after a German politician suggested people with severe disabilities could receive sexual assistance paid for by the state.

The German Green Party's spokeswoman for age and care policy, Elisabeth Scharfenberg, said the government could provide grants for sexual services to disabled people who cannot achieve satisfaction by any other means.

Prostitution has been legal in Germany since 2002.

A similar system is operating in Denmark and the Netherlands, where certified sexual assistants with special training conduct visits to disabled people who cannot afford to pay themselves.

"Funding for sexual assistance is conceivable for me," Ms Scharfenberg told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

An Inclusion Ireland spokesperson said: "The barriers that people in Ireland face regarding sexual relationships relate to law, policy and training.

"Young people with disabilities are unclear whether it is legal to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage as the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 casts a shadow.

"Inclusion Ireland has always favoured an approach which reformed the law while building the capacity of persons with a disability to enter into consensual relationships and be protected from abuse.

"We believe that any reform of the law must include a commitment to training and capacity building for persons with disabilities that are appropriate and mainstreamed.
"People with disabilities have a right to enjoy relationships, intimacy and family life.

"Measures such as those proposed do not address other barriers to participation in social and cultural life - such as seen in a disabling society