A helpline to provide emotional support to victims of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal is to be launched later this week after charity Respond received funding from the Department of Health for it.
From Thursday, April 11 former residents, family members and friends will be able to ring the Winterbourne View Helpline on 0808 808 0700. The helpline is free and will be open every Thursday from 10am – 4pm.
Through the helpline callers will also be able to access other support services, such as counselling, family support sessions, and advice and information.
Care Services Minister Norman Lamb said: "Following the horrific events shown in the BBC Panorama programme in 2011, I have met with families whose loved ones were patients at Winterbourne View hospital. I know the deep distress suffered by both the people with learning disabilities who were patients at the hospital and their families.
“I am pleased that my Department has been able to provide help to Respond to enable them to provide specialist support to those people and families. I know of the valuable work of Respond in supporting people with learning disabilities and family carers who have suffered abuse or trauma.”
Respond’s CEO, Dr Noelle Blackman, added: “We are so pleased to be able to provide the support that Winterbourne survivors and their families deserve after experiencing such terrible trauma.”
Respond Action Group member June Patterson, who has a learning disability, said: “When you’ve been abused, it can really help to talk to someone you can trust, and the staff at Respond are specially trained to work with people with learning disabilities.”
Picture: Respond Action Group members June Patterson and Sanjay Ramphal celebrate the launch of the new helpline.