We entrust care homes with the responsibility of looking after our most vulnerable loved ones. But when mistakes are made, how confident are you that your complaints will be heard and justice served?
Figures published recently reveal that out of more than 200 investigations into alleged abuse at residential homes in Suffolk between April 2015 and September this year, only two charges followed.
This is despite the introduction of a new willful neglect law in 2015, aimed at making it simpler to prosecute care workers and organisations who commit abuse, the East Anglian Daily Times reports.
Under the new legislation, abusive carers can be fined and even jailed for up to five years.
However, with less than one percent of complaints in Suffolk resulting in a charge, campaigners are concerned that carers appear immune from prosecution.
Police say every case is carefully assessed before a decision to charge is made. Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for adult social care in the county, say decisions are made based on individual circumstances.
Last month, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the industry regulator, reported a 40% rise in serious injuries at care homes in only five years, with more than 100 people suffering attacks every day. Injuries include broken bones, infected pressure sores and burns.
The CQC report found that serious injury notifications for every care home in England surged from 26,779 in 2012 to 38,676 in 2016 – reaffirming fears of a crisis in the social care sector, which has been beset by funding problems, care home closures, staff shortages and allegations of ill-treatment.
Meanwhile, in May, police figures revealed there had been 1,200 assaults between residents between 2014 and 2016 – the equivalent to more than one incident every day.
How can our personal injury lawyers help you?
If one of your elderly friends or relatives has been the victim of abuse, either by a fellow resident or a member of staff, our Personal Injury lawyers can help you pursue a claim for compensation quickly and effectively.