**" Give older people legal right to live in their own homes.
Equalities watchdog demands changes after care home abuses.**
( Interlocks with the main CARE HOMES news thread : https://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-and-campaigns/latest-caring-news/care-homes-providers-agencies-sector-news-closures-scandals-police-investigations-31323?hilit=care%20homes%20scandals. )
The UK’s equality watchdog has demanded that disabled and older people should have the legal right to homes in the community rather than being forced to live in institutions.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says concerns about social care and a shortage of suitable homes means a new law is urgently needed. “We need a rethink on how we treat disabled people, including people with mental health conditions, and older people in this country,” said David Isaac, chair of the EHRC. “We hope our call for action will result in a wider conversation. This goes right to the very essence of the sort of country we want to be – where everyone has the support needed to live their daily life.”
Isaac said the rights of disabled and older people were at risk. “Disabled people often feel like second-class citizens, and many are sadly faced with little choice but to move into institutions. They are often left feeling ostracised. We need to ensure that everyone can live as part of their community, where no one is forced out of the place they call home.”
The watchdog says all relevant public bodies should comply with article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which protects the right to live independently and as part of the community. A person would be assumed to want to live in the community unless he or she indicated otherwise.
The crossbench peer Baroness Campbell of Surbiton welcomed the intervention. “We can no longer turn our heads away when we witness some of the horrendous consequences of what happens to disabled people and their families when they are denied such basic human rights to live with dignity, choice and control over their lives. A right the rest of society takes for granted.”
In May the BBC’s Panorama showed abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable adults at Whorlton Hall, a specialist hospital in Co Durham. Similar concerns were raised about another institution, Winterbourne View, eight years ago. “It is clear that existing legislation is failing to protect the rights of all disabled people to live, and reach their full potential, in the community,” said Sue Bott, deputy chief executive at Disability Rights UK.
More than 2,000 people with learning disabilities or autism are being kept in secure hospitals – some have been there for decades – even though the government pledged to cut the number of people in specialist units to zero by 2014, according to a report from the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on complex needs.
“It’s been eight years since Winterbourne View,” said the APPG’s co-chair, Lord Adebowale. “Yet people with learning disabilities and those who are autistic in secure hospitals are being denied their human rights and are effectively trapped. A person’s relationship with their family and their community is essential to having a decent quality of life.”