Yesterday, a good Facebook friend started a petition. I’m normally a bit cynical about petitions. But this one needs to be noticed and shared and acted on.
The petition is calling for an inquiry into the intimidation and threats to carers and the people they support by the State.
The petition is available for signing and sharing here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165502
In my eyes, this is a very big issue. It is so endemic that half the time we don’t even realise it is happening.
Earlier this morning I tweeted that we are halfway through the third year of receiving a Personal Budget and the LA are still insisting on doing a monthly audit of how I manage the budget. Sod what the Care Act says about “burdens”. The only reason for this micro management is distrust and the need to hang on to power. But every month, there is a threat – get it wrong or submit it late and the budget will be removed.
I have the same worry with the housing issue. If I turn down the unsuitable property tomorrow, will this be used against Steven? Will I be forced to accept something inappropriate by succumbing to the intimidation? I don’t think the LA will see themselves as intimidating – they will just think they are rigidly applying their “considered” and “fair” policies. That’s how much of a blind spot the whole issue of bullying can be.
My two examples there are pretty minor. Working on the 7 Days of Action campaign has brought home the full force of State intimidation. For any family who has ever experienced a loved one being detained in an ATU, the threat of readmission is always hanging like a nauseating smell. We know that at least one of the dudes who featured in the April campaign has suffered dire consequences of being involved in the campaign – his release date is now completely off the agenda. Lots of families have approached us wanting their stories told but insist that it can only be done anonymously for fear of repercussions. Being a carer undoubtedly adds to one’s paranoid state but it is not without foundation. Even Baroness Jane Campbell knows this and her often quoted remark that she is one bureaucratic decision away from having her life turned upside down, illustrates that no matter who you are, everyone is fair game when it comes to State intimidation.
There are many forms that the intimidation happens. Dip into any day of the transcript of the LB Inquest and see how much threat Dr Sara Ryan came under from the witnesses from the State. Disgusting suggestions that the family didn’t want Connor to come home. Even worse, the implication that in some way by not being open about Connor’s epilepsy, Sara was partly responsible for his death. These are the big weapons.
Silence is another one. The phone calls that are never returned. The emails that go unanswered. Families don’t contact the State for a laugh. They are often at their wits end. They have legitimate questions. But so often, you disappear, into a silent void. All completely deliberate.
I could go on. There are so many examples of this epidemic. I’m sure if you thought for a moment, you could up with a very long list of the methods you have encountered over the years. I’ll stop because the point of this post was to plug the petition.
Please support it. It is such an important issue.
From → Social Care