Tuesday, 14 September 2010


There is one thing which has been troubling me above almost every other thing. I have noticed over the past couple of years there have been reported several of cases in the media where a vulnerable adult has been subjected to a shocking degree of abuse and even in some cases killed by people whom they regard as friends.

Despite their horrific nature the cases there is little outrage about who should or shouldn't resign, who should be fired or struck-off, and which systems should be changed so this never happens again. The media report these cases as they would any other crime story, as something of course shocking, but ultimately an isolated act; not a wider problem which calls for many difficult questions to be asked.

I have therefore been gladdened to see the Guardian showing signs of picking up on this issue, even using the term 'mate-crime'to describe what has been happening. I would recommend everyone read it. It raises a number of questions which we all need to ask.


  1. It is a horrific crime and you're right - the level of public outrage is not at the same level and it does raise a lot of important society-wide issues about the ways that disability is portrayed.
    I personally, have a little bug-bear about the lack of interest that is shown in the abuse of vulnerable adults which is not as uncommon as we would like to think that is it. The policy frameworks have just been so 'fuzzy' compared to the child protection frameworks and there is little legislative power to act. It's been improving slightly but there's a long way to go.

  2. Thanks CB. You're right it sadly very common. I've just read another story today, not something which falls under the 'mate-crime' banner, but again one where a vulnerable adult received a catalogue of harassment. There are also as you point out so many issues with the policy frameworks, I remember one colleague being particularly weary of financial abuse cases as they very rarely had any kind of positive outcome partly due to the unwillingness of the person experiencing the abuse to pursue any action against the perpetrator who would often be a person close to them. There were also issues around the MCA 2005 act, I know a couple of people involved with the whole business of the court of protection and appointeeships felt that it made early intervention in cases of financial abuse harder though as that wasn't my area I can't comment on whether that concern was borne out with the implementation of the act.

  3. As a parent i find this very frightening.