BBC Radio 4 submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for their programme ‘File on 4’, which revealed over 23,000 allegations of abuse have been made against home care workers across the UK. Prosecutions, however, are rare.
The Telegraph reported that around 500,000 people in Britain need home-help services, but the new figures suggest that one in 25 people may be suffering at the hands of their carers.
The BBC asked every council in England, Scotland and Wales with responsibility for social care for the numbers of allegations of abuse and neglect made against home carers under contract from local authorities. The requests were sent to health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland. Half of the councils approached responded to the FOI request.
The results showed that between 2013-14 and 2015-16 there had been over 23.400 safeguarding alerts. Most of the alerts related to care provided in England. A number of the events of ill treatment and willful neglect were caught on camera by concerned families.
The ‘File on 4’ programme discovered that prosecutions for these acts were very rare, with just 700 resulting in police involvement, and 15 prosecutions following on from these. The concerns related to neglect, or psychological, physical or sexual abuse.
The Department of Health say that the government has introduced tougher inspections of care services and that councils have been given access to up to £7.6bn for social care. They indicate that they will continue to challenge local authorities that do not fulfil their duties under the Care Act.
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