Safety and harm in school: promoting the perspectives of students with intellectual disability

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Violence and abuse towards schools students with intellectual disability is a pervasive and long-standing problem. In recent research conducted with students with intellectual disability, their families and education providers about safety and harm in school, a concerning discord emerged between the nature of harms described by students and their families and the systemic responses available for redress. To explore this resistant space, this paper draws on a human-rights framework for young people's participation (Lundy, 2007, British Educational Research Journal, 33, 927). Applying the framework to the study findings highlights a number of areas in which the participation of children and young people with disability sheds new light on long-standing problems, including the role of safe spaces, student voice, adult audiences and increasing the influence of students’ perspectives on policy and practice. These findings are significant for policy and practice to better recognise the structural barriers in place which make it both more likely that students with disability will experience harm and that they will find it more difficult to bring this to light; and to align systems responses with the lived experience of students, families and individual educators so that harm can be quickly redressed and expectations raised for a safe and happy school life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Special Educational Needs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • abuse
  • intellectual disability
  • policy
  • rights
  • Safety
  • violence


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