Apologies over delay in justice for disabled abuse victims

The Solar Centre
The Solar Centre

Investigators probing the abuse of patients with learning disabilities at a day centre failed to act quickly enough, a top level report has found.

An independent report into the ill-treatment of victims at The Solar Centre has been published this afternoon following a seven year fight by relatives.

Complaints of abuse were first made in 2007, but it was not until last year that two members of staff at the unit, based at St Catherine’s Hospital in Balby, were jailed.

A summary report of a serious case review held into the abuse said: “The investigation reports into abuse at The Solar Centre took too long and the independent author found that agencies did not effectively engage the victims or their families.”

The review looked into the roles various bodies - including strands of the NHS, the Crown Prosecution Service, South Yorkshire Police and Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (DSAPB) - played following the allegations and new policies they have put in place since.

It did not focus on the impact the assaults had on the victims.

The report says various agencies have ‘learned lessons’ and subsequent changes have been made “in relation to processes, policies, awareness raising and training.”

It has made nine recommendations including that DSAPB apologise the victims’ families for the length of time the investigation took. The apology should also “address their feelings of not being heard, involved or in control of the various safeguarding investigations.”

Health and police bosses should communicate better regarding investigations and South Yorkshire Police should state that officers have undergone relevant training regarding complaints of abuse on patients with learning disabilties.