Should we be using ‘special’ offences to prosecute crimes against disabled people? – Lucy Series

I can well understand the horror people must feel when they read of crimes like these. I had a daughter who may have ended up in a Home like this. I know if similar atrocities had happened to her I would want severe retribution.

However, I do not think that separate legislation is the right way to go. It would have the effect in the public mind of further separating the disabled from society. We need to encourage the public to view those with disablities as humans first and formost.

We already have laws to deal with abuse and torture of human beings, which some of the actions of the staff of this Home amounted to. Use those laws to prosecute wrongdoers rather than bring in laws that will, in my view, be counter productive.

UK Human Rights Blog

Eleven Winterbourne View staff have pleaded guilty to 38 charges of ill-treatment and neglect of a mental health patient under s127 Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).  In this post I want to consider why we need ‘special’ offences like s127 MHA and also s44 Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), rather than prosecuting crimes in care settings using more ‘mainstream’ offences. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with articles emphasising access to justice (Article 13) and equal recognition before the law (Article 12) encourages us to think about how we can ensure disabled people have effective access to the law that protects us all before we develop parallel ‘special’ systems of rights protection (see, for example, Inclusion EuropeEuropean Disability Forum).  So my question is: why are we using ‘special’ offences of ill-treatment and neglect to prosecute crimes that occur in care, rather than…

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