Winterbourne View 10 years on

A group of families with relatives who were at Winterbourne View have published their family stories reflecting on the last ten years since the Winterbourne View scandal. Read ‘Tea, smiles and empty promises.’

‘Tea, smiles and empty promises’

Today (Thursday 27th May) a group of families with relatives who were at Winterbourne View are publishing a collection of family stories ‘Tea, smiles and empty promises’, reflecting on the decade since BBC Panorama exposed abuse at Winterbourne View hospital and the lack of progress in Transforming Care.

Several other families with relatives with learning disabilities and/ or autism have also contributed their experiences of support for their relative.

‘Tea, smiles and empty promises’ calls for urgent action to:

  • Avoid traumatising children and adults with learning disabilities and autistic people in the first place by providing the right support at the right time in the right place
  • A focus shift to early intervention and preventing admission/ readmission, as well as getting people out of inpatient units
  • Provide appropriate trauma support for individuals and their families

Download ‘Tea, smiles and empty promises’

The families have joined together to write a letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, demanding action and delivery of “real, enduring change” to stop this domestic human rights scandal:

Read the letter to the Prime Minister

Get involved and email your MP now

The families have also put together a very short film, highlighting some of the stories shared in ‘Tea, smiles and empty promises’:

Short film from the families featured in ‘Tea, smiles and empty promises.’

Vivien Cooper OBE, CEO of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, says:

The messages from the families who have shared their experiences 10 years after the abuse at Winterbourne View was exposed are stark and clear – however you look at it, care has not been transformed. Think what can be achieved in 10 years – then consider how little has changed for so many people with learning disabilities and autistic people whose behaviour challenges. I hope that those in positions of power and influence, those who have high status and whose job it is to deliver the transformation of care, read these accounts and reflect on the devastating and lasting impact inappropriate admission has on children, adults and families – and how that impact and the consequences continue, year in, year out. We know what to do, what works, and how to do it – we need strong leadership, and people with the will, skills and determination to make this a priority and take action.

Please share widely with your networks. If sharing on social media, use the hashtag #Winterbourne10YearsOn to join in the conversation.

Support for ‘Winterbourne View 10 years on’

Please see the statement of support written by the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology and Faculty for People with Intellectual Disabilities:

Statement of support from BPS

Support for families

We recognise that reading the report, and hearing and seeing media coverage around the anniversary will be extremely difficult for lots of families. If you or someone you know is struggling, please do get in touch for support. Details are below:


Read the CBF’s information on ‘when things go wrong’

Read the full press statement from the families and the charities Mencap and CBF

Read CBF and Mencap’s Meeting The Challenge – guides for families

Read NAS’s ‘Advice and support for autistic and their family members on mental health and being admitted to mental health hospitals’

Relevant information:

When things go wrong

When things go wrong

The information in this section will help you understand what is meant by poor support and abuse, and who to talk to if you suspect your relative is coming to harm or not being cared for properly.

Family Support Service

Family Support Service

The Family Support Service can provide information and support about the needs of your family member with a severe learning disability. Our support is confidential, and we won’t judge you or tell you what to do.

Transforming Care - history and future

Transforming Care - history and future

This page askes the question 'What is Transforming Care?' It includes a summary of the history of Transforming Care, and details of how the CBF has been involved.