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Archived News Stories

Consultation changes to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Adults Policy, Procedures and Guidanc

Following consultation we've made changes to the policy, procedures and guidance. We'd like your views on the final draft. 

Older people cared for at home 'lacking basic rights'

Care of older people in their homes is so poor their human rights are being overlooked, an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found.

For the full story please visit the BBC News Page.

New Safeguarding Resources from Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

The SCIE has recently launched some new resources:

Report 41: Prevention in Adult Safeguarding -  advice on how to prevent abuse from happening.

Safeguarding adults: a community case study - a Social Care TV film about John, a man with Asperger’s Syndrome, who is being financially exploited within his community.

Safeguarding adults: a prevention project -  a Social Care TV film showing how training for people with learning disabilities can help them to protect themselves from abuse.

Adult Safeguarding Boards to be made compulsory for councils

Care services minister Paul Burstow announced that adult safeguarding boards will be made compulsory for councils and their partners by being put on a statutory footing.

Putting adult safeguarding boards into law was one of 76 recommendations from the Law Commission in its review of adult social care, published in May 2011.

Campaigners have long argued that safeguarding boards need statutory backing to be fully effective.

"I am determined that we strengthen the law to protect the most vulnerable people in our society," said Burstow." By making safeguarding adults boards mandatory, we aim to make them more effective and ensure those at risk of harm or exploitation will be safer."

"I think this ought to make it easier for social care professionals but the devil is in the detail," said Pete Morgan, chair of the Practitioner Alliance Against the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults.

He added that new legislation would need to make clear what responsibilities agencies have with regards to safeguarding.

The government will also lay down six principles to govern the actions of adult safeguarding boards.

• Empowerment – taking a person-centred approach, whereby users feel involved and informed.

• Protection – delivering support to victims to allow them to take action.

• Prevention – responding quickly to suspected cases.

• Proportionality – ensuring outcomes are appropriate for the individual.

• Partnership – information is shared appropriately and the individual is involved.

• Accountability – all agencies have a clear role.

The government said it expected all professionals to follow these principles when discharging their duties and making professional judgements in safeguarding cases.

"We must obviously watch closely the development of local strategies in order to ensure they meet these outcomes," said Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse. "And without overarching guidance to ensure consistency, we need to be satisfied that this more localised approach will be effective. But today is a good start."

The current statutory guidance, No Secrets, will remain in effect until 2013.

The Law Commission also recommended placing a duty on councils to investigate suspected instances of abuse but the government has not, so far, agreed this.

Artical by Vern Pitt for www.communitycare.co.uk 

Reduction in the number of government websites

The 'Transformational Government' strategy states that government departments must rationalise the number of stand alone websites. As part of this strategy, the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) has agreed to close its website on 4 April 2011.

By moving our customer facing material to Direct Gov and practitioner material to the new MoJ website, Justice, we will be able to improve the usage and share resources better. For example, professionals will be able to view all justice related content in one place.

Content on the OPG website will now be available on Direct Gov. The Office of the Public Guardian information is available in the ‘Mental Capacity and the Law’ section which is located in the ‘Government, Citizens and Rights’ area of Direct Gov.

Please note that the Direct Gov material is aimed at all our customers and provides information relating to making an LPA application, how to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a deputy, the supervision of deputies, and general information about what the OPG does. The Direct Gov site can be accessed at www.direct.gov.uk/mentalcapacity.

Information for professionals will now be placed on a new Ministry of Justice website, Justice. The new Justice site contains information on all business units across the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and will enable practitioners to access information in one place across the whole of the Ministry.

On this site you will be able to access information such orders made by the Court of Protection, fixed costs for solicitors and other professionals and additional guidance tailored to professionals. The Justice website will also include regular news updates including application processing times.

This site launches Monday 4 April, you will be able to access the Justice site on www.justice.gov.uk Information relating specifically to the OPG can be viewed at www.justice.gov.uk/about/opg.htm

If you have any queries about the website closure, please do get in touch via the following e-mail customerservices@publicguardian.gsi.gov.uk

Independent helpline for victims of hate crime launched in Nottinghamshire

A 24 hour third party reporting and helpline service for victims and witnesses of Hate Crime in Nottinghamshire was launched across the county on 30 November 2010. 

Commissioned from ‘Stop Hate UK’ by Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottinghamshire Police, the confidential helpline will be staffed by highly skilled call takers with real life experience of hate crime, trained to give advice, support and guidance to victims and witnesses.

Stop Hate UK is a 24/7 phone line 0800 138 1625 which provides help all day, every day for people affected by hate crime whether they are victims or witnesses of hate crime in Nottinghamshire.  Stop Hate UK's operators provide a supportive listening approach to callers and appropriate advice to victims, including immediate support and signposting to appropriate local services.

All hate crime is important. No hate crime is too minor to report to the police. Anyone can be the victim of a hate crime.  

Hate crime is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim’s:

  • Disability
  • Race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origins  Religion or belief 
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender or gender identity 
  • ‘Difference’, through their lifestyle or characteristics, such as ‘Goths’.

If you or anybody else thinks something has happened because of prejudice and hate then it is treated as a hate crime. This can include:

  • verbal abuse, insults, threats and name calling
  • harassment
  • damage to property
  • graffiti or writing
  • children being bullied at school,
  • malicious complaints
  • antisocial behaviour
  • attacks or violence
  • arson and setting fires.

 For further information please visit www.stophateuk.org


New guidance to protect people with learning disabilities from forced marriage

Sara, aged 24, had learning disabilities and was forced to marry.  She was ignored by her husband and family, and was even locked out of her home.*

New guidance to prevent people with learning disabilities being victims of forced marriage has been launched by the Forced Marriage Unit.  The guidance was developed in conjunction with learning disability charities the Ann Craft Trust and the Judith Trust.  New research carried out by the charities suggests that people with learning disabilities are at risk of being forced into marriage, and are less likely to report the abuse.

The new guidance for frontline workers – police, children and adults social care services, health and education professionals, care workers, and the voluntary sector – will raise awareness of the issue and help practitioners spot the warning signs of this complex and often hidden practice.

Each year, the Forced Marriage Unit deals with over 1600 reports of forced marriage.  Since August 2009, at least 58 cases have involved people with learning disabilities.

Jeremy Browne, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Consular Policy, said:

“This new guidance helps provide vital support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.  Evidence shows that in cases of forced marriage involving people with learning disabilities, it is much more likely that a friend or professional will report the abuse, rather than the victim themselves. This means that the emphasis is on professionals to act to safeguard people with learning disabilities from this type of abuse.”

Lynne Featherstone, Home Office Equalities Minister, said:

“Forced marriage is a form of violence against women and men, and should not be tolerated. When it involves people with learning disabilities the problem needs to be taken even more seriously.

“This new publication offers clear, step-by-step guidance to front-line professionals. By working together we can ensure that victims of forced marriage with learning disabilities receive effective support.”

Rachael Clawson, Ann Craft Trust, said

“The impact forced marriage has on people with learning disabilities is serious and severe. Forcing someone to marry when they do not want to, or when they do not have the capacity to understand the commitment or give their consent, is abuse.

Often, the forced marriage is organised by family members, the people who the victim trusts the most.

We are pleased to work with the Forced Marriage Unit to help professionals protect people with learning disabilities from forced marriage and the harm and distress it can cause"

The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office run the Forced Marriage Unit which works with UK nationals in this country and abroad to provide advice, prevent forced marriage and help victims.


*Sara’s story

Sara was doing a textiles course at her local college; she called us after talking to the college principal about her problems at home.  She told us that she had been forced into marriage in Pakistan two years earlier.  She had then been forced to sponsor her husband’s visa into the UK and he had been living at her family home since then.  Sara’s parents favoured her husband over Sara, and often treated her like a second-class citizen in her own home.  She had to eat her meals upstairs by herself and they’d make her stay out of the house all day until it was dark.  She explained that she didn’t have any support or friends outside of the family home.  After talking with an experienced forced marriage caseworker about her options, she decided that she would like to go into a specialised refuge, and continue a college course.  She is currently settling in to the refuge in a new area and has cut all ties with her family.

‘Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities: Multi-agency Practice Guidelines’ is available at: www.fco.gov.uk/forcedmarriage.  This guidance builds on the easy-read booklet aimed at people with learning disabilities ‘Am I being forced to marry?’ available at www.forcedtomarry.com published by the charity Respond and the Forced Marriage Unit.

More information is available from Rachael Clawson, Development Manager – Safeguarding Disabled Children Services, Ann Craft Trust, on +44 (0)115 951 5400, rachael.clawson@nottingham.ac.uk or ann-craft-trust@nottingham.ac.uk


'Mate crime' fears for people with learning disabilities

Learning disabled people living in the community are increasingly finding themselves the victims of so-called mate crime.

Steven Hoskin had strong feelings about his killers. They had abused, exploited and humiliated him over a year, taking his money, treating him as their slave and making him wear his own dog's collar and lead. Eventually, having forced him to swallow 70 painkillers, they took him to the top of a railway viaduct and made him hang from the railings as one member of the gang, a girl aged 16, stamped on his hands until he fell 30 metres to his death.

Yet these were the people the 38-year-old, who had severe learning disabilities, had boasted excitedly of counting as friends. "He thought they were the cat's whiskers," says Morley Richards, who had known Hoskin before he met the group. "He would say, 'They're my mates, I've got my own mates now.'"


Hoskin's case is extreme, but the phenomenon of learning disabled people being groomed by those who pretend to be their friends before being exploited by them financially, physically or sexually – "mate crime", as it is sometimes known – is far from rare, experts say, and appears to be on the increase. As more individuals are given the chance to live independently, the unwelcome side effect is that they are more likely to fall prey to criminals. Hoskin was a case in point: he had left the tiny Cornish village of Maudlin, near Bodmin, where he had grown up, and was thrilled to have his own bedsit in the market town of St Austell, where he made his new "friends".


The Association for Real Change (ARC) has been researching mate crime for the past year in Calderdale, west Yorkshire, and in north Devon, after a groundswell of concern among its members who are service providers for people with learning disabilities. Examples it has been told about range from perpetrators routinely going to a victim's house and clearing their cupboards of food and alcohol before leaving them to clear up the mess, to instances of people being persuaded to part with their benefits.


Women can be sexually exploited by men who claim to be their boyfriend, says David Grundy, who runs the Calderdale project. "They might be told, 'We're a couple and we haven't got any money – if you sleep with my mate he'll pay us.'" In other cases, someone with learning disabilities may be asked to look after a package that contains drugs and end up being beaten up as a result, or go shoplifting with their new-found friends carrying a weapon, only to get caught by police.


The victim may not realise that what is happening is wrong. "There can be a feeling of, 'He's my friend, that's what friends do,'" says Grundy. "People with learning disabilities have fewer friends. For some, any friends is better than no friends, even if they're spending all your money.


"It involves a lot of issues [around] self-belief and self-worth: thinking it's all right for people to walk all over them all the time, because that's what's happened to them the whole of their lives."


Rod Landman, from the north Devon project, likens the situation to domestic violence. "The primacy of the relationship can be more important than what's happening inside it. People are prepared to put up with all sorts of crap to keep a relationship that may be the only one they have apart from with someone who's being paid to be with them." As a result, victims shy away from reporting such hate crime incidents to the police, or indeed anyone. Every service provider that Landman talks to will tell him of cases, he says, but no one with learning disabilities will do the same.


Some families and frontline social care staff are still unaware of what constitutes a disability hate crime and what to do when one happens, says Grundy. Abusive relationships may get flagged up to adult safeguarding teams, but their primary aim is to keep the individual safe by removing them from the situation, rather than report those committing the crimes. This means that perpetrators remain free to target others.


As cuts lead to the closure of day centres and potentially less support for vulnerable people, there are fears that the situation could get worse. Gavin Harding, vice-chair of the National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, remembers the shock and anger he felt five years ago when he realised that someone he believed to be a friend had taken his cheque book and, together with another man, forged a cheque for £500.


"It was the fact they took advantage of me," he says. "It felt awful. You feel you can't trust people after that."


Article by Rachel Williams for www.guardian.co.uk

Merseyside care home nurse caged for abusing 85-year-old dementia sufferer

A nurse who abused and humiliated an 85-year-old dementia sufferer was jailed. Experienced mental health carer David Hill, 48, tormented vulnerable Dorothy Tunstall making her life “a misery” for his own amusement. Liverpool crown court heard over three months he dripped yoghurt on wheelchair-bound Mrs Tunstall’s face, force-fed her and spun her round in a hoist despite her screams of distress.

Staff at the Victoria Care Home, in Rainford, reported Hill’s abuse after watching him squirt water in her face with a syringe and drop food over her. Hill’s campaign of abuse was supported by care assistant Kathleen Roberts, 57, who laughed at him as he degraded Mrs Tunstall.

Judge Robert Warnock told the two defendants:

“Both of you were in a position of trust which required the highest degree of responsibility, because your patients and Dotty Tunstall in particular were vulnerable people who could not look after or indeed speak up for themselves.

“David Hill, you grossly abused that trust, apparently for your own perverse enjoyment.

“You force-fed her, you flicked food in her face and you put her in the hoist and spun her around when you knew she was terrified.

“Over a period of time, you made her life a misery and there was nothing she could do about it.”

Robert Altham, prosecuting, told the court how Hill and Roberts worked with particularly vulnerable residents who suffered from dementia and relied on staff for their daily needs.

He said Hill, who qualified as a mental health nurse in 1983 and worked at the home since September 2008, seemed to take a dislike to Mrs Tunstall and took pleasure in targeting her.

Between January and March last year Hill, of Cowley Hill Lane, St Helens, acted to “degrade and humiliate” Mrs Tunstall.

Mrs Tunstall has since died.

Jailing Hill for six months, Judge Warnock said: “Your joint actions were degrading and humiliating. I have a public duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

The judge branded Roberts a “willing assistant”. He told her “I cannot understand how you could possibly have found it funny.”

But he suspended her four-month prison sentence for 18 months after hearing she was a “broken woman”.

He ordered Roberts, of Dunmail Avenue, St Helens, to 12 months supervision. Her barrister Michael Wolff said she had collapsed sobbing after learning of Mrs Tunstall’s death.

Daniel Travers, defending Hill, said he had acted “truly out of character. He said: “He is ashamed and deeply regrets he caused what happened.”

After the hearing, a care home spokesman said: “We are appalled and saddened by this case. It has badly let down all the decent, caring staff and residents who trust us to look after their wellbeing and comfort.

“There is no place in our organisation for people who behave in this way.

“We feel particularly let down by Hill, who was recruited in a supervisory role.”

Article by Chloe Griffiths, www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

Daughter's outrage at care home abuse

An angry daughter has spoken of how she felt sick to her stomach when told her dementia sufferer mum had been the target for humiliating abuse at a care home.

Senior Care Nurse David Hill, 48, was sentenced to six months for subjecting 85-year-old Dorothy Tunstall, who died in April, to repeated ill treatment over a period of three months at the Victoria Nursing Home in Rainford.

Mrs Tunstall was force fed, had water squirted at her through a syringe, had food flicked at her and was the target of a barrage of foul and abusive language.

Hill would also suspend her in a hoist, used to lift the infirm, and spun her around for his own amusement.

His former colleague Kathleen Roberts, 57, was also charged with the ill treatment or neglect of a person that lacks capacity under the Mental Health Act. She was said to have played a lesser role, laughing and encouraging him.

Roberts was sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for 18 months.

Mrs Tunstall was married for 58 years to husband Albert, 88, and lived in Nutgrove all her married life.

Mrs Tunstall’s only child Wendy spoke to the Star about the shock and devastation brought by the callous pair.

The 48-year-old said: “It kicked off in March 2008, when I had a phone call from the manager of the home. She told me there had been a report of abuse from two members of staff and it had been reported to the authorities. But she couldn’t tell me the details, except to say it wasn’t sexual abuse.

“For months we didn’t know what had happened. It was only on the day they were sentenced (Wednesday, May 26), that I heard the details. It made me sick to my stomach. Everyone loved my mum. She was a happy, caring, loving person.

“I’ve no resentment towards the care home. He has brought shame on them and they don’t deserve it. The staff have been heartbroken and have been like angels to us. I also want to thank the police, especially Gill and Kirsty, who were a great help.

Wendy, who works as a supervisor at Rainford High was satisfied with Hill’s sentence, adding: “I know he won’t serve six months, but at least something has been done. He has to live with his conscience now.

“At the time, mum had no short term memory, but understood what was going on around her. And she would have known what was being done to her and would have tried to fight back. But she would have forgotten five minutes later.”

Referring to Kathleen Roberts, who herself is recovering from cancer, Wendy said: “I can’t comprehend how she could laugh at what he was doing. How could she think it was right and not stop him. But I could see it has deeply affected her. She is paying her own sentence.

“None of us know what our future holds, but I’m a believer in what goes around, comes around. I only hope for their sakes they never find themselves in a situation where they have to be cared for by people with the same morals they have.”

Article taken from www.sthelensstar.co.uk

Fylde care worker jailed following death of man in her care

A Fylde woman has been jailed for six months for the wilful neglect of a 57-year-old man who died in her care.

Kathleen Vitturini, 62, of West Drive, Thornton Cleveleys, admitted the charge at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday April 29. She was originally charged with manslaughter by way of gross negligence after Peter Giles died in October 2004.

Mr Giles suffered from Parkinson's disease and had mental health issues and was cared for by a close family, who were assisted by Social Services.

In 2003 Social Services, with the consent of his family, placed Mr Giles into the care of Vitturini, at the Abbeycroft care home in Bispham.

By September 2004 Mr Giles' condition was deteriorating very quickly and it is the speed and extent of that deterioration that has been at the centre of the police investigation into his death.

Immediately following his death HM Coroner in Blackpool referred the case to the police for investigation.

Expert opinion was obtained and a case was prepared and presented to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised that Vitturini, who was at the time Mrs Bennett, was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.

However, in the light of further medical evidence, Vitturini pleaded guilty to wilful neglect and the original charge was withdrawn.

Detective Inspector Des Coop, who led the investigation, said: "I am satisfied with today's result which follows a lengthy and detailed investigation.

"Mrs Vitturini, as the person in charge of the home, had a duty of care towards Mr Giles, but she clearly failed in that duty.

"This is a tragic case and my thoughts are with Mr Giles' family.

"I only hope today's sentencing will help them deal with the loss of a much loved family member and we will continue to support them in the future in any appropriate way."

Mr Giles' brother Ken said: "Peter was a very caring and affectionate person, but when he needed care most he was let down badly by the system.

"He managed his long mental illness very well, but towards the end his Parkinson's added to his problems.

"All he needed was to be looked after in a caring manner, by eating and drinking when he was able to and be picked up when he fell over, very basic needs.

"His placement at Abbey Croft didn't cater for those needs.

"The only thing I know Peter would wish for from this case being brought to Crown Court by the CPS is that all those involved within the care home profession, who have a duty of care for all their residents, sit up and take note so saving anyone else, and their families, going through the pain that this family has had to over the past three and a half years.

"The family would like to thank all those involved with this prosecution for all their help and hard work."

Article taken from www.blackpoolcitizen.co.uk

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