That group is adults who have an intellectual disability. It’s been a crime forever — well, at least since William Gladstone was prime minister of Great Britain.
Legislation going though the Dáil at the moment will change that, and will recognise the capacity of people who have an intellectual disability to make many decisions, but not in relation to sexual relationships.
Back in 1990, it published a report on Sexual Offences Against the Mentally Handicapped.
In that report, it said the law must “respect the rights of the mentally handicapped to sexual fulfilment and should not pose unnecessary obstacles to intimate relationships, which find sexual expression, where one of the partners is mentally disabled”. When Frieda spoke to the Law Reform Commission, it was planning to revisit the subject, because no change had happened.
” question—is a stranger’s attempt to acknowledge my son’s disability without coming right out and saying it. “He had a stroke before he was born so there are lots of things he’s still learning to do.” The man tries to be helpful. “Yeah, it takes a lot of work and a lot of therapy—we’re actually on our way to therapy now,” I say.