Response to Out of sight – Who cares’: We can prevent the repetition of abuse

Jonathan Senker 26 October 2020

We know what to do. But we don’t do it. Or to be fairer, we do it in some areas, but not nearly as fully or consistently as we must.

Jonathan Senker

Jonathan Senker, chief executive of VoiceAbility, responds to Out of Sight- Who Cares’, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) review of restraint, seclusion and segregation for autistic people, and people with a learning disability.

We’ve seen far too many awful experiences of abuse. It means that we’ve had more than enough opportunity to learn about what needs to change. We now know how to prevent - or at least dramatically reduce - the repeated abuse of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in mental health hospitals. 

We know why autistic people and people with learning disabilities continue to be admitted to hospital. We know why people get put in long term segregation. We know why people are too often subject to repeated restraint. We know about the crimes and the institutional and individual abuse and about the conditions which make these more likely to occur. 

We have created an embarrassment of riches in the form of inquiries, reports, recommendations, consensus statements and guidelines. We know what to do. 

Alongside so many other people, I have played my part in writing the hundreds of thousands of words about this, including NICE guidelines. In their latest report, the CQC do a good job of saying again what needs to be done.

But we don’t do it.

Or to be fairer, we do it in some areas, but not nearly as fully or consistently as we must. It is tantamount to inhumanity by design. Action to address people’s basic human rights appears to be considered optional. 

We need decisive national leadership and local implementation of the recommendations in the CQC report and other reports. We need action to be taken with determination and urgency, as if people’s basic human rights were being systematically and continuously breached in this country. They are. 

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