A mother who took her local authority to court after her severely autistic son
was locked in a padded room several times a day says the ‘remarkable’ progress he has made since winning the case 9 months ago has vindicated their battle for justice.
Her comments came as a judge lifted an anonymity order preventing Wigan Borough Council being named as the local authority concerned in the Court of Protection case, where it had been ruled that it was wrong to lock the 19-year-old boy in the so-called Blue Room
’ more than six times a day to control his behaviour without seeking a court order to deprive him of his liberty.
The mother of the boy – who can only be known as C – contacted Kevin Lloyd of Hogans Solicitors after becoming distraught by his treatment at Beech Tree School and having repeated pleas for improvements to her sons care ignored by social workers, officials, and others who should have identified the unlawfulness and appalling nature of the care which was provided to her son. The case culminated in Mr Justice Ryder ruling the borough council’s treatment was unlawful. In separate proceedings Mr Justice Ryder also directed that it was in C’s best interests for him to be provided with a package of care properly organised and managed by an effective Multi Disciplinary Care Team. This resulted in his transfer to a bespoke placement in July last Year.
Now, C’s mother says the progress he has made since the ruling last March and his transfer to his new placement, has vindicated the family’s battle. She said the situation for C whilst at Beech Tree School was harrowing and his plight had fallen on deaf ears until the intervention of the Court adding that his presentation speaks volumes. C now enjoys regular walks in the countryside and is using transport to go swimming; both his attention span and vocabulary have dramatically increased, but perhaps most tellingly of all C has started to laugh again.
She said: “This entire period has been extremely traumatic for my sons and I and it’s with a feeling of immense joy and relief that we feel C can now begin to lead the fulfilling and enjoyable life he should have done previously.
“It is a sad situation that the very people we should have been working in cooperation with in order to provide the best care for him are the ones that let us down and failed to meet their minimum duty of care to him, the ‘professionals’ within the named organisations each had the authority to halt the tragic existence of my sons’ incarceration within the Blue Room but failed in their duty to do so over a considerable period of time. “His elder brother and I have witnessed the practice of seclusion enough to know that it is unnatural, particularly cruel to someone with the diagnosis of C and serves only to dehumanize and there should be no place for its use in 21st century ‘care’.
“I just hope that others in an extremely vulnerable position may be spared the harm that he was forced to endure and we were forced to witness prior to the judgement. C’s elder brother was represented in the proceedings by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors. The family wished to thank both legal teams including Kevin Lloyd of Hogans Solicitors, Katie Scott of 39 Essex Street Chambers, Mathieu Culverhouse of Irwin Mitchells and Sam Karim of Kings Chambers for their help.
Kevin Lloyd said, “The failures of Wigan Council in this case were profound, ongoing and systemic. Repeated attempts by C’s mother to get the relevant professionals interested in the very difficult and austere life being led by her son were quite simply ignored by those who had an undoubted duty of care towards both C and his family. The extent of the failings by the officers responsible for this case should cause the Local Authority to review in their entirety the reporting systems and management practises in this area of caring for vulnerable young adults. Equally, the management of C’s care by staff at BeechTree School operated by Scope was either misreported, ignored or treated with indifference by those very individuals who should have had C’s difficulties at the forefront of their plan of care for him.”
Hogans Solicitors were established in 1986 and specialise in protecting vulnerable adults and children.
For more visit: http://www.hogans.co.uk
Media Contact Details
Name: Kevin Lloyd
Company Name: Hogans Solicitors
Town: RaiCountry: UK
Telephone Number: 01514307529