SHADA was started by Outsiders in 2005, originally to bring together telephone helpline operators and professionals who are concerned with the stigma surrounding the sexual happiness of disabled people. There is now a wider range of members, over two hundred, comprised of trainers, lawyers, heads of home, social care managers, policy makers, teachers, care workers, sex workers, advocates, directors of charities and disabled campaigners. We have members from the Ministry of Defence, hospices, colleges, universities and the medical profession.
We meet in London twice a year to share experiences and learn. People wishing to attend a meeting need to check in first with the coordinator. Meetings are designed to support those who are attending, particularly people beginning new projects and working in areas we have not yet discussed.

Our meetings are announced and the minutes put up on the website.

We started SHADA International ( featuring the pioneers in sex and disability around the world, inviting other professionals to join, encouraging local groups to form and listing all the members and what they do. Sadly this did not take on so we stopped inviting new people but you can read interesting things already there.

SHADA ran a conference with the Royal Society of Medicine on 13th November 2009 called Disability: Sex, Relationships and Pleasure. This was a great success and reported in two pages in The Times.

The current SHADA team are:
Professor Claire de Than, Chair
Els Payne, Secretary and Coordinator
Eliot Lamb, Minute Taker
Tuppy Owens, Convenor and Scribe

SHADA has produced policy guidelines for GPs, surgeons, therapists, residential homes, colleges disability agencies, and for those wishing to use sex workers in their care plans and work.

SHADA is now a stakeholder for NICE, so that, for example. we are able to make comments on the new social care guidance and quality standards for adults and children which NICE are currently producing.

SHADA is challenging the governing bodies to include sex and disability in their training, policies and guidelines.

The group’s reputation is spreading world-wide. SHADA’s website is: