Unless the Government takes strong action to stop people with learning disabilities being sent to large care institutions, another Winterbourne View-type scandal could occur, learning disability charities Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation have warned.
Their report, Out of Sight, comes the day after the 11th and final person to be charged with an offence in the Winterbourne View scandal entered a guilty plea at Bristol Crown Court [link to story].
In it, the charities reveal that they have received 260 reports from families concerning the abuse and neglect of people with a learning disability in institutional care since the Winterbourne View scandal was uncovered by BBC’s Panorama team in May 2011.
Out of Sight details a number of serious incidents of abuse including physical assault, sexual assault and the overuse of restraint, often on people housed hundreds of miles away from their families.
As a result, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation are calling on the Government to urgently address failings in the care system, to close large institutions and to develop appropriate local services and facilities.
Vivian Cooper, founder of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said: “Many hundreds of people with a learning disability are being sent away to care institutions hundreds of miles from home, where they remain for years unnecessarily, at risk of neglect and abuse. Our report details the deep concerns that families have for their safety and welfare.”
Mark Goldring, Mencap 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.”
To read the Out of Sight report, click here: www.mencap.org.uk/outofsight