Who We Are

Who We Are

Respond exists in order to lessen the effect of trauma and abuse on people with learning disabilities and/or autism, their families and supporters.

We do this through providing psychotherapy for people with learning disabilities, advice and support for staff and families, training for carers and professionals, education for people with learning disabilities, influencing generic services in order to make their services accessible, influencing learning disability services to consider the psychological impact of living with learning disabilities, undertaking research and disseminating our findings. Formed in 1991, Respond receives some core funding from the Department of Health and accepts referrals from PCTs, Local Authorities and other various Social Service departments.

Recent donors include: Comic Relief, the Home Offices Victim Fund, The Lloyds TSB Foundation For England and Wales, BBC Children in Need and the Big Lottery.

Mission Statement

To bring about positive change that enables people with learning disabilities, autism or both who have experienced abuse, violence or trauma to live richer, more resilient lives.


The work of Respond is guided by our core values of respect, user participation, openness and honesty.

Respect because we recognise the value of all our clients as individuals in their own right, we see the whole person. We treat our clients with courtesy and listen to them with care and attention.

User participation because we believe in the necessity of having the lived experience and opinions of our clients as core to our work.

Openness because we believe in sharing knowledge and learning, we are open to new ideas and ways of doing things and giving and receiving feedback on any aspect of our organisation to enable us to be better at what we do.

Honesty because we only promise what we feel we can deliver, we take responsibility for our actions and decisions, we seek to instil confidence in our clients, customers and staff team and we are clear in our communications.

National Charity With 29 Years’ Experience

Respond is a national charity that draws on 29 years’ experience of bringing about positive change that enables people with learning disabilities, autism or both who have experienced abuse, violence or trauma to live richer, more resilient lives. We achieve this through a range of evidence-based trauma-informed services for children, young people, adults and professionals. These services include psychotherapy, advocacy, campaigning and other support that aim to both prevent abuse and equip individuals and their families to come to terms with their experiences and live more positive lives.

Additionally, we achieve our mission by providing unique specialist training, supervision, reflective practice, professional development and consultancy services to equip agencies and providers to deliver trauma informed services within trauma informed team and organisation cultures.

Respond’s award winning services are based on the theories that underpin our model of psychotherapy, such as psychodynamic, attachment and traumagenic theories. All services have developed their own specific Theory of Change against which we are further developing our measurement and recording of the outcomes people achieve, their journeys and stories, community impact and satisfaction with our services.

We are members of VODG and the Provider Taskforce.

Respond Forms Strategic Alliance with Choice Support

Initially the alliance will embark on a joint initiative to provide joined-up packages of support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism who have a forensic history and have been in secure or in-patient settings.

Dr Noelle Blackman, Chief Executive of Respond, says: "This vital collaboration with Choice Support will help people with learning disabilities or autism to live fulfilling lives in the community beyond their discharge from private hospitals and assessment and treatment units. I believe our partnership will make a real difference. Respond's expertise in supporting people to long lasting emotional recovery from trauma and abuse is invaluable in helping people to get out of hospital and stay out".

Steven Rose, Choice Support's Chief Executive, says: "Both organisations have a strong track-record of supporting people to move out of private hospitals and assessment and treatment units. By working together we think we can be more effective in helping the 2500 people still stuck in such places to move on to something better".

In time Choice Support and Respond will work together on research projects and other initiatives.

Choice Support strategic alliance media release

Remembering Alan Corbett, 17 February 1963 - 22 December 2016

All at Respond are very saddened by the death of one of our founding directors, the wonderful Alan Corbett. Alan defined what it is to work as a therapist with people with an intellectual disability. As one of the early directors of Respond Alan left his imprint there in many ways. He ran the organisation with a mixture of great thoughtfulness and gravitas, and set the pattern for how Respond operates today. We were lucky enough to have Al back as a clinical supervisor in the recent years and to have the opportunity for our therapists to develop their practice under the guidance of his warmth and brilliant thinking. His many books lays this out with great clarity, each book sharpening our understanding of the complexity and painfulness of the work. The beauty of his writing is the compassion and empathy that he has for his clients, always seeing their humanity before their disability. He touched many lives and changed them for the better.

"Like many brilliant people, he did not make his great discoveries in the classroom. He crafted them instead from the depths of his own very loving soul by spending time with patients whom other mental health professionals simply refused to treat. Alan knew from his lengthy experience that sustained, devoted, and creative attempts at understand the often 'bizarre' behaviours of his patients would result in great improvements, not only in terms of symptom reduction but, also, as a means of enhancing the patient's intelligence".

Tributes to the late and much loved Alan Corbett on Karnac Books. karnacology.com/hall-of-fame/alan-corbett

Respond AGM 2016

The Respond AGM for 2015-2016 was held on 14 November 2016 at Netley Priimary School, London NW1. The AGM brought together Trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters to celebrate the 25th anniversary year of the charity. The AGM featured two inaugural annual events: the Alan Corbett Award for staff who advocate on behalf of Respond, and the Tamsin Cottis Annual Lecture that was delivered by Tamsin herself on the occasion of her retirement from Respond this year. These awards are testimony to the invaluable contribution of Alan and Tamsin to Respond and this ground-breaking work of the charity with people with learning disabilities and Autism who have experienced abuse, violence or trauma, and their families.

Neil Myerson, Chair of the Board, and Dr Noelle Blackman, CEO, reviewed the year and thanked the staff, volunteers and funders for their commitment to Respond in what has been a challenging year. Neil thanked the Three Guineas Trust in particular for their belief in the charity and for the generosity of their funding towards our work. Noelle outlined the future strategic goals for Respond: to enable children, young people and adults with learning disabilities or autism who have experienced abuse or trauma to successfully access the care, support and resources they need to live safe, healthy and positive lives; to ensure the human rights of people with learning disabilities or autism are recognised and implemented; to lead and innovate in working with people with learning disabilities or autism who have experienced abuse, trauma or violence; to achieve financial stability and operational sustainability.

The inaugural Alan Corbett Award was awarded to Liz Gow and Luthfa Khan for their advocacy of Respond. The awards were made by June Patterson, a member of the Respond Action Group. Liz, Family Support Services Coordinator, secured a prominent feature in Learning Disability Practice promoting the impact of a trauma-informed approach on the recovery of people with learning disabilities and Autism who have been abused. Luthfa, Project Lead for Forced Marriage, engaged a potential new funder to support the work of Respond.

The inaugural Tamsin Cottis Annual lecture was delivered by Tamsin. The lecture marked the end of her involvement with Respond as founder, therapist and latterly as clinical supervisor. She remains a passionate supporter of the charity.

Tamsin Cottis Annual Lecture 2016.