Charity calls for harsher care home abuse sentences

Charity appeals against sentences for care workers.

Charity appeals against sentences for care workers. - Credit: Archant

A CHARITY is calling for the Attorney General to review the sentences given to three carers who ill-treated an elderly woman at a Wraxall care home.

Action on Elder Abuse is calling for harsher sentences for the carers who were caught verbally abusing and roughly handling Gladys Wright on a hidden camera at The Granary Care Centre.

The trio appeared at Bristol Crown Court on June 20 after pleading guilty to the ill-treatment or wilful neglect of a person who lacked capacity.

The longest sentence given was four months in prison, while one offender was given a community order and another a suspended sentence.

Action on Elder Abuse is calling for longer sentences for people charged under the Mental Capacity Act.

Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive for the charity, said: “We’ve written to the Attorney General to say we think those sentences are too lenient.

“They’re not a deterrent for future potential abusers and don’t do justice to the abuse that was suffered. They also undermine the good work thousands of care workers do.

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“Convictions under the Mental Capacity Act have potential for a five-year sentence.

“We’re seeing more and more of these cases coming up and the vast majority of the offenders are being given community service or suspended sentences.

“The longest sentence which has been given so far was two years.

“We need more prosecutions to reach court, for them to be heard in crown court and not magistrates’ so we can appeal and for sentences to be closer to the five-year margin.”

Gladys’ family is now appealing for CCTV cameras to be installed in all homes where vulnerable adults are cared for.

But Action on Elder Abuse believes more needs to be done to prevent abuse from happening.

Mr Fitzgerald added: “CCTV will give reassurance for the families but it isn’t going to stop the problem.

“The problem is letting the wrong people in to become care workers. We need to have registration for care workers in the same way they do for nurses.

“We need to be paying people more than we are at the moment and clearly we need to have quality training of care staff.

“We have to recognise that care work is not a menial task. It’s heavily complex, very challenging and we need to be paying them better.”

Mr Fitzgerald stressed the changes need to happen soon due to the growing need for carers to cope with an increasing number of elderly people.