Download Easy Read news about the #right2home campaign

22nd May 2020 marked 1 year since we saw horrific scenes of abuse in Whorlton Hall, broadcast by BBC’s Panorama. Yet still, over 2,000 adults and children with learning disabilities and/or autism are locked up in secure mental health units, denied the right to home and family life that keeps them well. Government promises to move people into their own homes are still being broken, nearly 9 years after Winterbourne View closed. 

National lockdowns have meant that there has been an even greater risk of people being locked up. It means more people in mental health crisis going into secure care, and delays to moving out into a home of their own. We’ve all been asked to stay at home at times throughout the pandemic, but these fellow-citizens can’t be at home. They’re even more cut-off than ever from family and friends.

#right2home has been a campaign to keep this scandal on the political agenda, and press the government to act on its promises.

In May, we built up to '5 days of action' and shared this across social media, encouraging people to be involved, help raise awareness and to contact local politicians. Since May we have continued to engage the general public and share information. We have hosted guidance webinars with subject specialists and created an informational website and tool to guide families and close friends having problems visiting loved ones who are autistic and/or have learning disabilities. The website covers inpatient settings, care homes and supported living.

Picking up from earlier campaigns, #right2home is co-run by people with learning disabilities and campaigners, including leaders from bemix.

Follow the campaign on social media    

Dannielle Attree - 23 years old, autistic and from Kent - sharing her #right2home poster during an Occupational Therapy session in her seclusion cell. Dannielle has been detained in secure mental health units for over 4 years. Read about Dannielle's story here.

bemix is a leading member of Self-Advocacy Together, a new social movement of self-advocates and self-advocacy groups.

On 22nd May, leaders with learning difficulties from Self-Advocacy Together met with NHS England to discuss their concerns that providers of secure care have too much power over people, because they are with them day and night. This is a reason people in Whorlton Hall were at risk of abuse. After Whorlton Hall, NHS England asked commissioners to visit secure hospitals every 6 weeks for under 18s and every 8 weeks for adults. A good visit will include someone who understands the environment from lived experience of learning disability and/or autism. This is a good policy, but more is needed.

Our leaders think peer-advocacy is needed. We know people can see an independent advocate. But people can relate more easily to someone with lived experience like theirs.

Our leaders think safeguarding training is needed for people in secure units. This helps people to be aware if they are being abused or neglected, and what to do about it.

Our leaders think self-advocacy training is needed. This makes people more confident to speak up if they are being abused or neglected. Self-advocates are the best people to deliver this training. 

People who have moved on from secure care should be involved in delivering this support and training. This would help their recovery and wellbeing too.

We proposed that a trial project is started in three or four places to test these ideas, starting by the end of 2020.

This proposal to NHS England is an outcome of the Six Big Questions campaign bemix launched last year after the Whorlton Hall scandal. Question 5 raised concerns about the power providers have, asking how commissioners are involved in people’s lives, checking they are safe and getting better.