Abuse of vulnerable adults should be criminalised

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home … Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere (Eleanor Roosevelt) – Published on Labour UNCUT, by Peter Watt, December 01, 2011.

… It is a powerful message and one that is used to open an important report from the equalities and human rights commission (EHRC) “Close to home, an inquiry into older people and human rights in home care”. The report was launched last week. It followed a year long inquiry looking at the protection and promotion of human rights of older people in England who require or receive home-based care. 

What is so so depressing is that once again a report comes out that details a litany of abusive behaviour towards vulnerable older people. In this case the abuse is taking place in people’s own homes when they are in receipt of home-based care. The report says that around half of those giving evidence to the inquiry were satisfied or happy with the care that they or a relative received. Great; but that leaves the other half where there was plenty of evidence of:

  • financial abuse, for example money being systematically stolen over a period of time
  • chronic disregard for older people’s privacy and dignity when carrying out intimate tasks
  • talking over older people (sometimes on mobile phones) or patronising them
  • some physical abuse, such as rough handling or using unnecessary physical force

… //

… We are currently trying to answer the question of “what does a Labour government do when money is scarce”? How do we deliver social justice in ways that don’t cost a fortune? Well here is one way: Labour should commit to making the abuse of vulnerable adults a specific criminal offence as a part of a legislative framework that protects vulnerable adults. And we should make it clear that people will be prosecuted. No excuses accepted. (full text).

Links:

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The Gods must be crazy.

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