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Parliament: Protection of Vulnerable Adults, Including Deaf

Tom Levitt (High Peak, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to enforce a multi-agency approach to safeguarding vulnerable adults, with particular reference to those who are both deaf and blind.

Phil Hope (Minister of State (Care Services; Minister for the East Midlands), Department of Health; Corby, Labour)

A revision of the key guidance, "No Secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse", is currently under way. As part of this, a large public consultation took place between 16 October 2008 and 31 January 2009—a copy of the consultation document has been placed in the Library.

The consultation document asked a large number of questions about how we need to change and develop the "No Secrets" guidance, to strengthen and improve existing safeguarding arrangements for all vulnerable adults, including whether new legislation is needed. The review is also considering how to improve prevention of abuse, and how to assist all people—including those who are blind or deaf - in making decisions about risks and choice in their lives.

The consultation on safeguarding adults has elicited a huge amount of information, from both service users and professionals—which is being considered very carefully by Ministers.

Here, the purpose of Tom Levitt's questioning is clearer.

Page 37 of the report [PDF] lists the people involved in the steering group. It seems to list one name, Jackie Scott, Deaf-Blind UK (first meeting), which does not instill confidence (deafblind only, and one meeting). I thought the NSPCC If the government is serious about deaf inclusion, and meeting its statutory obligations then please can some

There is only one direct relevant mention in the report, I am able to find. 6.10 of the same report states:

The communication needs of victims including people with sensory impairments, learning disabilities, dementia or whose first language is not English must be taken into account. Interviewers and interpreters may need specific training.

Even I am able to see this report is completely inadequate when it comes to deaf people, and it doesn't even begin to address the issues. The government should already be aware that deaf people are or have been at a much higher risk of abuse.

We've been here with the Department of Health before, with the Stop Eugenics campaign. See here for more information.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 places a legal obligation on public bodies to consult with disabled people (including deaf people) - see Disability Discrimination Act 2005, particularly Part 5A (amending the Disability Discrimination Act 1995). And to have due regard to including but not limited to: promotion of equality of opportunity, promotion of positive attitudes towards disabled people, and to take steps to meet disabled people’s needs even if it means favourable treatment. See here [PDF], and this is also highlighted in the Department of Health’s ‘Single Equality Scheme 2007-2010’, specifically at pages 96-97.

So, how come there's no deaf involvement Department of Health? Haven't we been here once before, with the government breaking its own law and policy?

They Work For You

See also:
Parliament: Disabled Witnesses

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