Disability advocates are calling on the Morrison government to develop a "comprehensive sexuality policy" as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
This week, the Disabled Peoples' Organisations Australia (DOPA) collected the signatures of more than 40 groups who co-signed a statement saying they "expect the NDIS to support people with disability to develop to our full potential in all areas of our life – including supporting our sexual expression. The undersigned want the NDIA to develop a comprehensive sexuality policy to allow for all levels of sexual education and support to be provided, according to our individual needs and goals".
DOPA explain that historically people with disability have been subjected to societal beliefs that they are either asexual or hypersexual, while constantly being denied full autonomy over our own bodies.
They go on to explain that the NDIS have further perpetuated this stigma by failing to develop or produce a clear and comprehensive sexuality policy for NDIS participants that encompasses and supports individual sexual needs and goals at all life and development stages.
DOPA is advocating for a sexuality policy that is positively framed and places sex, sexuality and relationships within the context of disability supports.
The policy should include a broad range of goals an NDIS participant may seek to include in their NDIS plan. These goals might include: appropriate disability-inclusive sexuality and relationships education; information and resources to support individual learning needs; support for dating and social sexual engagements; access to adaptive sex toys; access to sex therapy or utilising sexual services from sex workers.
The benefits of fulfilling sexual needs and goals can positively contribute to the overall quality of life and self-esteem for individuals, as well as meeting a range of other emotional, psychological, physical and social needs.
Additionally, some people with disability are in need of specific support to learn about their sexuality and sexual capacity after a significant injury, illness or sexual assault, increase their experience, knowledge and acceptance about changes in their own bodies and abilities, and to gain confidence and social skills to enjoy a positive sexuality.