Review launched into safeguarding people from carer abuse at home

Government probe will examine whether Care Act and other safeguarding measures provide sufficient protection for people receiving care at home, following concerns raised by disabled people's organisations

Dictionary, definition of the word abuse.
Photo: Feng Yu/Adobe Stock

The government has launched a review into whether people receiving care at home have adequate protections from abuse by those providing it.

The probe is in response to concerns raised by disabled and deaf people’s organisations that existing safeguards are not adequate, where the carer fell outside the definition of domestic abuse provided by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse as abusive behaviour between people over 16 who are “personally connected”. This includes relatives or those who have been, or are, spouses, involved in an intimate relationship or co-parents of a child.

The review, which will be carried out by the Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care and completed before the end of the year, will examine the scope and accessibility of existing protections and the availability and accessibility of support for victims.

Care Act under review

Protections under review include the safeguarding provisions of the Care Act 2014, notably section 42, under which councils must make enquiries when someone with care and support needs is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect from which they are unable to protect themselves because of their needs. It will also cover the offences of ill-treatment or wilful neglect by care workers or providers, under sections 20 and 21 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

Under the terms of reference, the review will cover all people receiving care at home, including in supported living or other housing with care arrangements, in England. It will not cover care homes because of their greater levels of oversight and regulation by the Care Quality Commission.

In relation to people providing care, it will cover those who are “personally connected” under the Domestic Abuse Act (see above), as well as other unpaid carers, such as friends or neighbours, paid care staff and volunteers.

The DHSC and Home Office said the review would consider the differences between the protections and support offered where the alleged perpetrator is an unpaid carer, as opposed to one paid or engaged to provide a service. For example, the offences of ill-treatment or wilful neglect under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 do not apply to unpaid carers, while the Care Act statutory guidance refers to “unintentional” abuse by informal carers arising where the carer is struggling with their role and may themselves need support.


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2 Responses to Review launched into safeguarding people from carer abuse at home

  1. Chris Sterry February 24, 2022 at 5:55 pm #

    It goes without saying that safeguarding in care has to be a prime consideration, so the law needs to be there to protect and where necessary prosecute those effecting safeguarding concerns.

    Home care is not new so the law should have been there, unfortunately in the Care Act 2014 there are many instances where the directive should have been a ‘must’ and not a ‘guidance’.

    In the Care Act 2014 I did review the safeguarding section during the consultation and I made many references to must and guidance and many other matters, in my consultation submissions, but as usual my suggestions were ignored as I am not deemed an expert, but I am deeply involved in home care, as a family carer and therefore have many years of being an ‘expert by experience’.

    But, my experience is that Governments don’t listen either by design or not and therefore major mistakes are made by Governments.

    It makes me wonder, do Governments really care or are they just believing in their own importance, without a care for any others.

    • Sarah February 26, 2022 at 10:44 am #

      Remain disappointed with the Review only taking into consideration care within the home and not those services regulated by the CQC and those offering community services for those under the Transforming Care process and staff relying on psychiatric medication and police intervention where care and staff training is inadequate to meet health needs and does not reflect patient centred care… despite being funded and not a good use of tax payer monies and progressively and positively moving both patient and families on : (