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AWPF Press Release 23 May 2019

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23rd May 2019

BBC exposes abuse of vulnerable adults at Whorlton Hall Hospital

All Wales People First, the National Voice of People with Learning Disabilities in Wales is shocked and saddened to see the BBC’s footage, which exposes several examples of abuse of vulnerable people with learning disabilities and/ or complex needs.

Have lessons been learnt from Winterbourne View? We were assured they would be. Yet seven years on from Winterbourne, the abuse of vulnerable people behind closed doors clearly remains prevalent. Worse still, it is frustrating and unacceptable that we rely on the BBC to expose this abuse which falls under the inspectorate’s jurisdiction.

The same cultures seem to be allowed to perpetuate in society. Cultures which view people with learning disabilities as second class citizens. I can say from personal experience that these negative attitudes can range anywhere from being treated disrespectfully, to physical threats or actual assaults. It is all wrong, but is still happening. Our systems which are supposed to be supporting the most vulnerable people in society are clearly not working. We are allowing people with learning disabilities to be treated in this way and that is not ok.

It seriously begs the question yet again as to whether we actually know who is safe in our care system. It also provides a stark reality check that any measures currently in place to spot this and prevent this need stepping up, and quickly. Looking at the BBC’s horror footage, it is arguable whether lessons have been learnt from the institutional settings in the 60s, let alone from Winterbourne.

It is essential that all people with learning disabilities should be listened to and treated with respect and dignity. Our new MIRROR strategy pledges to increase All Wales People First’s reach to people with learning disabilities who we have previously been unable to reach. This pledge includes people in care settings. We must take an active part in empowering people to have their voices heard and stamp out this abuse. Self-advocacy is integral to achieving this.

Joe Powell, Chief Executive All Wales People First

Notes to Editors:

For further information and interviews please contact:
Kelly Stuart, Policy and Communications Manager, All Wales People First on 07508 228474

All Wales People First
All Wales People First is the united voice of self-advocacy groups and people with learning disabilities in Wales. It is an organisation for, and led by men and women with a learning disability. It is unique in Wales in that it is the only national member-led organisation that represents the voice of men and women with a learning disability
What is Self Advocacy?
Self-advocacy is about speaking up for yourself. It is about growing your confidence and skills to make your own decisions

All Wales People First MIRROR Strategy

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