Out of Sight report highlights levels of abuse and neglect
A new report published by Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation reveals the scale of the abuse and neglect of people with a learning disability at assessment and treatment centres like Winterbourne View.
‘Out of sight’ has been published by Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation. Since the Winterbourne View scandal, the two charities have received 260 reports from families who are concerned that loved ones with a learning disability are being neglected or abused in institutional-style care.
The joint report highlights a number of serious incidents reported by families, including physical assault, sexual abuse, withdrawal of food and water and the overuse of restraint by physical and medical means.
There are currently many hundreds of people with a learning disability living in institutions similar to Winterbourne View. In many cases, the units people live in are hundreds of miles from home, leaving them at particular risk of abuse and neglect. Although intended to provide short-tem specialist treatment, more than half of residents remain in assessment and treatment units for two years or more, and nearly a third stay for more than five years.
Mark Goldring, Mencap’s chief executive, said: “We fear that unless the government commits to a strong action plan to close large institutions and develop appropriate local services for people with a learning disability, there is a very real risk that another Winterbourne View will come to light.”
Together, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation are calling on the government to urgently address the systemic failings in the care of people with a learning disability, by closing large institutions and developing appropriate local services.
The Care Quality Commission’s recent inspection programme of 145 hospitals and care homes for people with a learning disability revealed that half of services failed to meet essential care and safeguarding standards.