The Respond Action Group Policy and Campaigns
Respond has always been very aware of the injustices faced by many people with learning disabilities face, so we use our experience and knowledge to try and change things for the better.
We know from many of the clients that we see for therapy, that people with learning disabilities sometimes have difficulty getting access to justice; perhaps they are treated badly by the police, or find it hard to get someone to take them seriously when a crime has happened to them.
Our Policy & Campaigns Officer works in partnership with the Respond Action Group, five people with learning disabilities who act as Respond's expert advisors.
Our campaigning focuses on injustices in the legal system, disability hate crime, forced marriage, measures to prevent abuse, and making sure that those are employed to work with people with learning disabilities are suitable to do so.
We work with other charities, and also the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service amongst others.
As part of our policy work, we respond to Government consultations, and participate in stakeholder steering groups on public policy. This ensures that our views and the needs of people with learning disabilities are heard by those who make the law.
Some of the formal and informal consultations that we have been involved in are:
- Cross Government Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Abuse
- Review of Adult Protection Guidance
- Implementation of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill
- Changes to Inspection for residential care homes
- Crown Prosecution Service Policy on Disability Hate Crime
- Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults
- Witness Charter
Download the Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into the Human Rights of Adults with Learning Disabilities.
We keep people informed of our work by publicising our campaigns in the media. Our regular comments on events and abuse cases also highlight issues regarding abuse prevention and securing justice for vulnerable victims of crime and abuse.
Links to our recent press releases are below.
- Healthcare Commission Report
- A little card is a big hand for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses
- Sentence for encouraging care home residents to fight is too short
- Home Office 'forgot the vulnerable'
- Coalition of anti-abuse charities condemns institutional abuse that beggars belief
- Foreign convictions records failure is 'giant breach of trust' and 'reminiscent of Soham'
We Regularly meet with MP's to discuss our campaigns and how they can get involved.Respond has given written evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into the human rights of adults with learning disabilities. We have also met with members of the Joint Committee to answer their questions. Our evidence describes how crime and abuse violate the human rights of adults with learning disabilities and suggests recommendations the Joint Committee could make to ensure adults with learning disabilities enjoy their human rights.
Parliament recently debated the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill and we used this opportunity to highlight the hidden problem of the forced marriage of people with learning disabilities. Jo Swinson MP kindly tabled an amendment to the Bill to ensure the needs of people with learning disabilities are met when courts consider forced marriage cases and you can read our briefing on this amendment here. Our evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights also described this serious issue and suggested reforms to public policy. Further information can be found in our main submission to the Joint Committee and in our supplemental evidence. This is an issue on which we are continuing to campaign.
Disability Hate Crime
For information on our work to tackle disability hate crime and what we want to see done, please click here.
Hear a recent podcast about disability hate crime and government policy www.thefifthcolumn.co.uk
No Secrets Guidance - Adult Protection
While we believe that No Secrets represented a significant and valuable step forward in dealing with abuse against vulnerable adults, Respond believes it is time to examine how this guidance has been operating in practice and how we can build upon it. We are delighted that the Government has announced that such a review will be taking place and look forward to being involved in determining the shape of future policy to tackle abuse of vulnerable adults.
British Crime Survey
We believe that the British Crime Survey under-represents people with learning disabilities and misrepresents their experiences of crime. This makes it less likely that crime affecting people with learning disabilities will feature in political debate and is likely to hamper efforts to tackle crime against people with learning disabilities. We are currently in discussions with the Home Office on what form reform might take.
Forced Marriage of People with Learning Disabilities
From our contact with professionals it is clear that forced marriages of people with learning disabilities are far from rare and are likely to make up a notable minority of the cases of forced marriage that occur every year. This is an issue which Respond is campaigning to bring to wider public attention and to improve official responses to.
Respond is committed to ensuring that potential abusers are prevented from working with children and vulnerable adults. A key part of such prevention is effective and proportionate vetting and barring measures. Read more about our work in this area by clicking here.
How to get involved - campaign with us!
Write or meet with your MP - for help with this contact our Policy and Campaigns Officer, Louise. She can help you with a template letter to your MP, or to help you arrange a meeting. It is important to let your MPs know the difficulties you may face - they are the ones who can change things.
If you have any ideas for campaigns that we could look at please let us know! If you want further information about campaigns and the work we are doing, please get in touch.
For further information call on 020 7380 8258 or click here to email.