Press releases

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 Panorama coverage of abuse of patients at Whorlton Hall (May 2019).

The deeply disturbing scenes witnessed yet again on BBC Panorama are another glimpse into the grotesque consequences  of segregating disabled people from ordinary life.

This relentless and systematic devaluation of disabled people can start at birth, when statutory services often accelerate disabled children (and this can happen in adult life too) into segregated “services” often under the guise of “care”.

Our schooling system continues this process of devaluation by labelling and isolating disabled children into segregated schools. Even when disabled children are located in mainstream schools they are routinely segregated in “special units” or in a “special” room, where apparently they can receive “special” teaching. Many parents know that they have no “choice” and have been left abandoned with limited legal redress. Segregation of disabled children leads to further segregation in adult life. Segregation of disabled people continues in employment, in health, in housing, in all aspects of relationships and living.…-it-must-end-now/

By segregating disabled people “outside” of ordinary life, as was seen with the Panorama investigation, their families, their opportunities, their relationships, their aspirations, their contributions are all devalued. By creating segregated environments, irrespective of inspection regimes, disabled people will continue to be abused by the very “services” established to offer support. It is not only one or two individuals who carry out abuse, but the segregated institutional system that is fundamentally flawed. Governments the world over, have known this for decades.

Our schooling system has failed miserably to recognise the talents and skills of disabled children. We know inclusion works, we know disabled children do learn in a myriad of different ways with a wide range of meaningful supports, disabled children do make a rich diversity of contributions enhancing the learning environments of ALL participants.

To end segregation of disabled people now the government must end segregated institutional settings, remove their Reservation on Article 24 of the UNCRPD and assert the rights of all disabled people to be active members of their local, national and global communities.

The Alliance for Inclusive Education

Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People

Inclusion London