Andrew Norfolk – Times investigation

Autism charity calls for ‘urgent lessons’ over care scandal

Britain’s leading autism charity called today for “urgent lessens to be learned” after The Times revealed that a court allowed a vulnerable young woman with severe learning disabilities to have sex with numerous men she barely knew.

The 23-year-old woman, who has an IQ of 52, was repeatedly exploited during a court-approved, two-month trial period this summer in which random men were permitted to visit her Manchester care home between 10am and 4pm each day.

A private care company paid to protect her is said to have believed that high-risk sexual encounters with strangers might help the woman to “learn from her mistakes”….

….Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham, who has campaigned on behalf of victims of the town’s sex-grooming scandal, said today that the Manchester case was “clearly sexual exploitation”.

“This turns my stomach. It beggars belief that a vulnerable adult with such high care needs has been treated by the system in this way.”

Read on…

Autistic woman ‘pimped out’ in care scandal

Agency allowed her to have sex with many strangers so she might ‘learn from mistakes’

A young autistic woman was allowed to have sex with numerous men because her carers were said to believe that high-risk encounters with strangers might help her to “learn from her mistakes”, it can be revealed today.

The woman, 23, who has severe learning disabilities and an IQ of 52, was repeatedly exploited during a court-approved, two-month trial period this summer in which random men were permitted to visit her Manchester care home between 10am and 4pm each day.

Read on…

Care scandal: Men took full advantage of autistic woman’s care plan

It was euphemistically described as a “visitors’ plan”. In practice, it was an open invitation for numerous men to sexually exploit a young woman with severe learning disabilities. They took full advantage.

The proposal was said to have been made by a care company, Engage Support, and was approved this year by a court whose duty was to act in the best interests of the highly vulnerable 23-year-old woman.

Read on…

Care scandal: Allowed to marry… and receive lovers

After ruling in 2015 that the woman was “unable to make decisions on her contact with men”, a year later a judge decided that she should be allowed to marry.

During an escorted visit to a restaurant she had chatted with a young Bangladeshi waiter. They became friends and soon wanted to marry.

Read on…

Care scandal: Court of Protection open to public but entry is a challenge

The Court of Protection is at times forced to wrestle with ethical issues of public interest. To discover that such a case is being heard, however, is no small challenge.

The press and public have been allowed to attend most proceedings in the court since 2016, but very little advance information is made available to describe the nature of the hearings.

Read on…

Care scandal Q&A: Can the woman’s family intervene?

Why did a private agency support the young woman?
The local authority is legally responsible for ensuring a person’s care but many care providers, including operators of care homes, are private companies or in some cases charities.

Engage Support, based in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, specialises in designing highly specialist support for people with autism whose needs cannot be met by mainstream providers. Its services include assessing vulnerable adults’ needs for friends and relationships.

Read on…

 The Times

Uncivilised Society

An extraordinary case left a young, vulnerable woman at risk of sexual violence when she needed round-the-clock supervision

A good measure of civilisation is the willingness of a society to look after its most vulnerable members. By this measure Manchester city council, the agencies it hires and the courts system that is supposed to supervise them have all failed. Individually, they can offer excuses as to why a young woman with the mental age of a child was given an official care plan that let her have sex with multiple partners, often with complete strangers. Collectively, the components of a system meant to keep her safe exposed her to the risk of sexual abuse, violence, injury and even death.

Read on…

4 thoughts on “Andrew Norfolk – Times investigation

  1. As always, the diligent researches of Andrew Norfolk in The Times have again pointed a light into a dark corner where those with the greatest of disadvantages try to live their lives. I wish that the UK had the equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize for journalism so he could be given it.

    rather than comment on the particular story, awful as it is, I wish to say that this is an instance in which the UK Parliament is already considering the processes that surround the twin related issues thrown up by this most desperate of cases.

    These twin related issues are (a) the mental capacity of people who might be at risk to determine the course of their own lives and (b) the preservation of the liberty of such persons where that liberty might be in jeopardy.

    Going through Parliament as I write is the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill (2018) under whose provisions the chain of events set out with such vivid clarity by Andrew Norfolk should – at the very least – be far less likely.

    Under the new proposed arrangements for the preservation of the liberty of vulnerable people will be a mandatory stage of consultation with families and carers that is expected in the vast majority of cases to result in a care and preservation of liberty plan that all agree. Only in exceptional circumstances (such as an irreconcileable failure to agree among the parties, including family) would the Court of Protection – the focus of much of the Andrew Norfolk article – be expected to intervene. is a clear review of why Parliament is looking at these issues and the role of the Law Commission in framing (a) the problems with the existing system of which the young woman in Andrew’s article fell so very foul and (b) what new provisions should be made.

    The Briefing Note also sets out what the Parliamentary process for placing the new law onto the Statute Book should be.

    As the parent of a very vulnerable daughter, I have watched the progress of these efforts to change our laws for the better with a mixture of hope but also of fear lest Parliament should fail for some reason to complete the task.

    When I read of events such as those which Andrew Norfolk describes in The Times today, my hope is that such news will spur our legislators to succeed.

    But for once, it would be most unfair if our legislators were to be criticed for inaction when the truth is that new laws about these issues are actually in the latest stages of passage into law.

    Kindest regards to Rik and all around him

    Chris Longley MBE


  2. Pingback: Andrew Norfolk – Care scandal | Rotherham Politics

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