Watching Dispatches: Concerned About Your Relative?

On Wednesday 1st March, Channel 4 will broadcast a special episode of Dispatches called "Under Lock and Key." It will follow the stories of three young people with learning disabilities, autism or mental illness who were previously trapped in a St Andrew's assessment and treatment unit far away from home where they were subject to seclusion, restraint and frequent sedation. This article is here to let you know how you can access support if you or someone you know are affected by the issues featured in this documentary.

Many people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions receive good quality care and support, however abuse and poor care can take place anywhere. Families are often particularly concerned when their family member is far away from home and they are unable to visit regularly.If at any point you believe your family member is in immediate danger you should contact the police. If there is no immediate danger, you should report your concerns about abuse to the local authority in which the person is living. Each local authority has a child protection and adult protection/safeguarding team who you should contact if you have any suspicion that someone is at risk of abuse.

Poor care includes things like not being able to access fresh air, take part in meaningful activities and have nutritious food. Any inappropriate use of ‘restraint’ and other restrictive practices could be regarded as either abuse or poor care.

Poor care can be challenged using advocacy, complaints processes, Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings for people detained under the Mental Health Act and sometimes by legal challenges. Support and information is available for families and individuals from a range of charities and organisations. The following support guide introduces some of these charities and how you can contact them:

Download your copy of the support information by clicking here


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