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The Woman On The Bus

April 19, 2013

Three and a half hours later and I’m still shaking with rage at what I witnessed on my bus journey home earlier.

I was waiting at the bus stop and a woman walked up and stood next to me. She was in tears. I’m pretty sure she was autistic. Several paces behind her was her carer, chatting away on her mobile. The bus pulled up and the carer walked ahead of me and the woman and got on the bus. I stood back to let the crying woman on. The carer grabbed her by the sleeve of her coat and pushed her into a seat. The carer then sat herself down across the aisle, even though there was a seat next to the woman she was caring for.

For the next ten minutes, the woman got more and more distressed and repeatedly said to the carer: “Are we going to the doctors?”. The carer sat staring straight ahead and didn’t once answer her. The woman started rocking and then started to slap the back of the seat in front of her. The carer started to compose a lengthy text.

I’d had enough. I leaned forward and tapped the carer on the shoulder nd said “excuse me”. Three times she ignored me. Eventually she turned round. I said: “Can’t you say something, anything, to reassure her? Like, are you going to the doctors or not?”

The carer started poking me: “DONT. TELL. ME. MY. JOB”.

She repeated this three times.

The bus pulled up at a stop in the High Street and the carer got up to get off. She didn’t say a word to the woman. The woman left the bus screaming.

Is there any point reporting this to the local authority? I can guess where the home is – is there any point in reporting it to them? The answer to both questions is probably not.

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From → Social Care

16 Comments
  1. Yes there is a point obviously don’t know where this took place but at our LA it would be investigated by either children or adult safeguarding team and yes we do take action

  2. joedd permalink

    Hi – you have to report it – this is abuse – and must be highlighted, to safeguard the disabled person….was there CCTV on the bus? and good for you Mark challenging the ”paid” carer

  3. Jo Curphey permalink

    It’s worth reporting just in case other people have witnessed and reported similarly appalling behaviour. One complaint is easy to ignore but if that poor woman is lucky your complaint might just be the one that makes the difference! Also, at least you will know you have tried to do something.

  4. Gosh what a terrible thing to witness. I absolutely would be inclined to report it. Hopefully, you could help prevent it happening again.

  5. Karen permalink

    Yes….you should report it…..and to the care quality commission, this behaviour is totally unacceptable and I can’t believe that you were the only one to challenge the carer…..take it way above the local authority/care home if you have to!

  6. Abby permalink

    oh yeah most buses have cctv now

  7. Yes, I’d say report it. She is clearly supremely incompetent — not bothering to soothe the distress of the lady she was caring for, leading to a disturbance to others on the bus (even if nobody else complained), and then assaulting a member of the public. The authorities need to be told (perhaps the police as well as social services).

  8. Frances permalink

    Would you be happy if this was your relative being cared for in this manner? If carer is doing this in public, what is happening in private? What are the consequences of not reporting it? It is cruel.

  9. Sorry to go off on a tangent but I am also concerned that those on workfare have been expected to work in care homes. If paid carers cannot cope how are those forced into it for their benefit expected to cope? There`s a lack of forethought going into the recruitment process which does not say much for the system as a whole.

  10. kath permalink

    Report – detail as much as poss describing what service user and ‘carer’ looked like time, bus route/stops etc. Adult safeguarding, needs investigating, simple as. Chances are this isn’t the first time.

  11. Debz permalink

    Please please report it !

  12. I have investigated many cases of adult abuse and I can assure you that if this ‘carer’ is prepared to be so abusive of a vulnerable adult in public, how she acts in the privacy of a care home with no one to witness her conduct will be much, much worse. She either has no insight into her behaviour, or else she has lost all and any concern for the consequences of what she does – either to herself or the person whose life is in her control.

    Think Winterbourne Care Home – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-20092894 – and make that phone call now. Call the local authority, call the Care Quality Commission.

    You can even consider calling the Police and asking them to consider conducting a criminal investigation under Section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which makes ‘abuse or wilful neglect’ of someone lacking mental capacity a specific crime.

    You did the right thing in challenging the carer, who may at the very least now be worried that someone is on to her – though don’t count on it. Take now the right and next step, and report what you witnessed.

  13. Dem Bones permalink

    Yes, report it!
    If the carer acts like that in public, she might be even worse in the woman’s home when no-one can see her.
    Not all carers are suitable for their jobs, and she sounds like a bully.

  14. kate Goodall permalink

    Please do report it; not just for the distressed lady being un-cared for, but for yourself too. If you don’t, it may always be on your mind.

  15. Please report it it really matters, if the carer can behave like this in public god knows what’s she’s doing in private

  16. Please do report it – ‘they’ can’t do anything to you that they haven’t already done, can they? If you don’t already have a phone with a video camera, get one, or a cheap little digital camera with video feature. Phone is better because you send the video to her boss before she has a chance to do anything. You can then film the whole incident. Which by the way is not illegal – police and PCSOs think it is and so do general public, but it is only illegal to film people in their own backgarden, for example, – if they are on street you can film away. Test cases were brought about this, backed by professional photographers associations and Amateur Photographer magazine.

    http://www.lfph.org/photographers-rights-in-the-uk

    If you could have got the woman’s name (not the carer the client) then even better.

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