End torture of Disabled people
ALLFIE’s collective campaign to end the systematic abuse of Disabled people in UK residential ‘care’ settings
Table of Contents
What we’re doing and why
Across the UK, Disabled people are trapped in residential settings and care homes, where abuse is rife and private companies can profit off their imprisonment. ALLFIE and other Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in the Disabled People’s Movement have formed a collective to take action and demand change.
We are increasingly outraged and frustrated by the sheer scale and frequency of scandals involving Disabled people, including people with learning difficulties and autism. Disabled children and Young people are being exposed to neglect, violence, torture, rape and death in long stay hospitals and residential care institutions, often dual-registered children’s homes/‘special’ schools. A damning catalogue of evidence of this in the UK reaches back/spans over a decade. To make matters worse, this has all taken place at taxpayers’ expense, and increasingly in a culture of gross capital gain, profiteering and corruption. Intervention by the Government and relevant authorities has repeatedly fallen flat, being too late, not enough, or in the wrong direction.
Enough is enough. We have launched the ‘End Torture of Disabled People’ campaign with the following demands:
We have set out 8 campaign demands, to end the structural and systemic practice of segregation of Disabled children and Young people in all its forms:
- End the torture, violence and abuse against Disabled children and adults across all service provisions and institutions (private, charities and state)
- Immediately re-launch investigation into the torture, sexual violence and deaths of Disabled people in these institutions
- Hold all commissioners, staff and professional involved in placing Disabled people in institutions to account – to be sacked and charged for these inhumane acts
- Put a stop to Disabled children and adults being placed in residential institutions – these are not homes
- Fully resourced and investment into Independent Living community-based support and inclusive education provision
- Commissioners must be held account for spending public money and placing Disabled people into segregated institutions
- Put the money in the hands of Disabled people and not businesses through Personal Budgets and Direct Payments, to allow Disabled people to buy their support and services and have choice and control
- Fully implement a National Independent Living Service that would achieve inclusive education and address these issues
Despite repeated government promises to end the institutionalisation of Disabled people, children and adults remain imprisoned for no crime. Disabled people want to be supported to live in the home of their choice near to friends and family, not locked in far away homes and wards, where they are often subject to abuse, and where state, private corporations, and charities, make profits off their incarceration. We want a plan from Government to free Disabled people from unjust and abusive incarceration and meet their support needs in their communities.
The campaign was formed to end the abuse of Disabled children and Young people, up to the age of 25, incarcerated in residential care and educational institutions. The campaign recognises that institutionalisation of Disabled people often begins in childhood, resulting in a lifelong trajectory of loss of opportunity. This includes not being part of a family, mainstream education, employment, and society at large.
The broader campaign, going forward, is to get all segregated institutions closed down. This aligns with the Disabled People’s Movement demands for a full inclusive society, including an inclusive education system, and ultimately to end segregation of Disabled people in all its forms.
ALLFIE, DPAC and ROFA demand an immediate statutory review into the torture, sexual violence, violence and deaths of Disabled people in institutions. Abuse must end in all service provision, and Commissioners who are using public money for Disabled people to be abused held to account! Please get involved and register for our next campaign planning meeting:
We are planning a Day of Action to take place in December 2023.
- ALLFIE (Alliance for Inclusive Education) has written to 19 Parliamentarians asking them to sponsor, support and attend an event in Parliament.
- DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) is coordinating a march and protest outside the Department of Education, and on Great Smith Street, outside of Parliament.
- ROFA (Reclaiming our Futures Alliance) steering group have been campaigning around institutional abuse for several years and have a proposal for a National Independent Living Support Service (NILS).
What you can do: call to action
Make a change
This is a desperate issue, and we need to come together collectively to make a change. Your support will help Disabled People’s Organisations move towards achieving our campaign demand, to end the structural and systemic practice of segregation of Disabled children and Young people in all its forms.
- Follow and support the campaign – join our next planning meeting
- Join the Day of Action on 25th October – (Eventbrite booking coming soon)
- Share on social media (media pack coming soon)
Speak up now!
Add evidence. These examples of scandals are just what we know of – please come forward if you have experiences or can highlight further abuse. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the collective
Add your name to the growing list of organisations supporting this campaign. Email email@example.com
- Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE)
- Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA)
- Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
- Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP)
- Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association (DEWA)
- Sisters of Frida (Disabled women’s collective)
- WinVisible (Women with visible and invisible disabilities)
- Support Not Separation (Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign)
- Action on Disability (AoD)
- Disability News Service (DNS)
The story so far
We have pulled together some of the horrific key events, investigations, reports and media coverage which led to this campaign:
- 2011 Winterbourne View: Timeline: Winterbourne View abuse scandal
June 2011, BBC Panorama https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13548222
Secret filming by BBC Panorama found a pattern of serious abuse of people with learning difficulties and autism at Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol, which resulted in the arrest of 4 people. Andrew McDonnell, who works with adults with learning difficulties, labelled some of the examples seen on film “torture”.
- 2015: Government promises to reduce numbers (Add Essex article)
- 31 May 2019: The abuse of Disabled people has become routine in institutional settings – it must end now
ALLFIE and other Disabled People’s Organisations speak out about the BBC Panorama coverage of abuse of patients at Whorlton Hall
- 14 October 2021: Pupil abuse in special school secure rooms filmed on CCTV
“An investigation has been launched into “organised abuse” at a special school in London after CCTV was discovered of pupils being physically assaulted and neglected, BBC News has learned.” (BBC, 14 October 2021)
- 3 March 2022: Child sexual abuse inquiry calls for tougher regulation of residential special schools“A major investigation by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has called for tougher inspection and oversight of residential special schools, after hearing how some teachers exploited their positions to groom and abuse disabled pupils.” (Disability News Service, 3 March 2022)
- 26 October 2022: Independent Report on Hesley Group Children’s Homes
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: Safeguarding children with disabilities in residential settings
Statement by Gillian Keegan, Education Minister in the House of Commons, and was also in the House of Lords by Baroness Barran
- 24 January 2023: Children punched and hit over the head in care homes rated ‘good’ BBC Noel Titheradge
Children in care were punched, locked out naked and had vinegar poured on cuts, according to reports that were filed over three years before the homes were finally shut.
- 13 April 2023: Assaults, neglect and a Taser revealed in ‘deeply shocking’ BBC care home investigation
“A company which ran children’s homes where residents were systemically abused also failed to prevent adults being harmed, BBC News has learned. An investigation found 99 cases of abuse at a Doncaster home for vulnerable adults in 2010. One worker even ordered a Taser to use there.” (BBC)
- 19 April 2023: Further Evidence of Violent Abuse in Specialist Setting
“ALLFIE is appalled, and yet unsurprised to see yet another investigation into the injustice of a ‘specialist’ setting, that found systematic and sustained abuse and denial of rights to Young Disabled people. (ALLFIE, 19 April 2023)
“Child safeguarding practice review panel says harm was result of day-to-day failures and oversight. The government’s child safeguarding advisers have urged major reforms to protect severely disabled young people in residential care after “horrific and shocking” abuse revelations at a string of homes run by a private operator. The child safeguarding practice review panel recommendations, published on Thursday, follow its earlier report on the systematic abuse and neglect of more than 100 young people at three facilities in Doncaster run by the Hesley Group.” (Guardian, 20 April 2023)
- 20 April 2023: Experts demand major overhaul of safeguarding system to protect children with disabilities from abuse at children’s homes
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel publish recommendations ‘to improve the care, welfare and outcomes for children with disabilities and complex health needs living in residential settings’
“Last October, the panel published a review into very serious abuse to a significant number of children with disabilities and complex health needs at 3 residential special schools registered as children’s homes (Fullerton House, Wilsic Hall and Wheatley House, located in Doncaster and operated by the Hesley Group). Looking at the experiences of 108 children and young adults, it found a culture of abuse and harm, including evidence of physical abuse and violence, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual harm.”
“A report investigating abuse and neglect in residential settings for disabled children sets out the case for fundamental changes in provision.'” (UK Government)
- 24 April 2023: Learning-disabled and autistic people are being neglected and tortured. How much longer?
“Across the UK, revelations of institutional abuse keep mounting up, yet people are still being denied basic respect” (Guardian, John Harris)
- May 2023: Collective campaign launched
- May – Aug 2023: Campaign planning for direct action
- August 2023: UK Government refused to attend the UN CRPD Conference 2023 in Geneva, which demonstrated the lack of value and respect they have for Disabled people. The government continue to roll out agendas which undermine their commitment to the UN Treaty, to progress Disabled people justices and rights.
- September 2023 Further Collective planning and enlisting support (join our September 5 meeting)
- October 2023 Campaign Day of Action