The Big Question

Karen Shook
Disability equality adviser
No. People with learning difficulties are regarded as
unreliable witnesses, even though steps have been taken to stamp
this out. And they don’t always have the information to be able to
complain about abuse, which is why cases still emerge about
long-term abuse in care situations. There’s a need for independent

Shaun Webster
CHANGE self-advocacy group
When they make court reports, social workers often fail to
support people with learning difficulties, many of whom feel let
down. They feel they’ve got to fight on their own. Advocacy
shouldÊbe given more importance because if the social worker
knows about the individual’s needs, they will support them better.
Judges should be better trained.

Jaya Kathrecha
People with mental health problems are discriminated
against at work despite the support of lawful employment rights.
People in this situation can’t get the advice they need or find out
where to go for help and, if they do take their case to court, they
are unfairly treated by the judges too. The legal system still
doesn’t understand mental health.

Len Smith
Gypsy activist
Vulnerable people don’t get a fair deal from the legal
system, particularly in cases of crime or petty offences. I have
experience of individuals with learning difficulties who have been
treated with contempt and subject to pressure to confess to
offences that turn out to have been committed by others. Vulnerable
people often find it difficult toÊgive clear evidence to

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