Disability charities have warned the Government that another abuse scandal in care homes could happen.
A report published today by Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation reveals the scale of abuse and neglect of people with a learning disability at assessment and treatment centres like Winterbourne View.
A BBC documentary broadcast last year showed staff at the Winterbourne View centre abusing the vulnerable people under their care.
The new report highlights serious incidents reported by 260 families, including physical assault, sexual abuse, withdrawal of food and water and the overuse of restraint by physical and medical means.
Yesterday the last of 11 Winterbourne View workers to be accused of abuse pleaded guilty.
Michael Ezenagu, 29, admitted two charges of ill-treating a patient.
All ll defendants will be sentenced together in a few weeks’ time.
Mark Milton, Chief Operating Officer of The National Autistic Society, said:
"The Crown Prosecution Service’s recognition that this abuse qualifies as disability hate crime reflects the deeply distressing treatment of the vulnerable adults in this case and sends a clear message that any abuse by support staff is not only totally unacceptable but a serious criminal offence.
"The Winterbourne View case highlighted the grave inadequacies within the care system.
"Although genuine proposals were made in the wake of this case, the Government needs to press ahead and show clear leadership to address the systemic failings so that abuse is eradicated for good.
"Charities across the care sector believe it’s imperative for local authorities to develop good quality, local services so that they don't end up sending people far away from their family to large, impersonal and higher risk institutions".
Mencap also warned of the dangers of people sent to live hundreds of miles from home, leaving them at particular risk of abuse and neglect.
The report said more than half of residents remain in assessment and treatment units intended for short-tem specialist treatment for two years or more, and nearly a third stay for more than five years
Mark Goldring, Mencap’s chief executive, said:
"We fear that unless the Government commits to a strong action plan to close large institutions and develop appropriate local services for people with a learning disability, there is a very real risk that another Winterbourne View will come to light."
Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation are calling on the government to urgently address the systemic failings in the care of people with a learning disability, by closing large institutions and developing appropriate local services.
The Care Quality Commission’s recent inspection programme of 145 hospitals and care homes for people with a learning disability revealed that half of services failed to meet essential care and safeguarding standards.