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County Durham Safeguarding Adults Inter-agency Partnership

What happens when safeguarding goes wrong ?

High profile abuse cases

There have been a number of high profile cases involving abuse such as Steven Hoskins or the Hounslow case and all cases have provided important lessons.  

Steven Hoskins

Five people 'befriended' Stephen Hoskin, an extremely vulnerable man with an IQ in the bottom 0.4%. He was beaten, forced to sign false confessions, kept as a slave and lead around by a dog collar, made to shoplift, burnt with cigarettes and finally made to swallow 70 paracetamol and forced to his death over a viaduct. The subsequent serious case review noted that better interagency working, better communication and the sharing of information would have spared him the abuse he suffered. The only legal intervention with Stephen was not to protect him, but was an environmental enforcement action to reduce the noise from his flat.

PDF IconSteven Hoskins.pdf (1 page, 9kb)

Hounslow case

The Hounslow case concerned the failure of the local authority to protect two adults with learning disabilities. As a consequence they had pepper and fluid forced into their eyes, were forced to drink urine, eat dog biscuits and human and dog faeces, had kitchen cleaner sprayed into their mouth, face and hair and were slashed repeatedly with a knife. No secrets failed to protect them.

PDF IconHounslow case.pdf (1 page, 10kb)

South Tyneside

South Tyneside was criticised by the Local Ombudsman for failing to implement No Secrets procedures, resulting in two older people suffering 'harassment and fear while living in what should have been a supportive environment'. They described the perpetrator as bullying, harassing, publicly humiliating and abusing them.

Margaret Panting

Margaret Panting was 78 years old when she died in July 2001, just weeks after moving to live with her son-in-law Peter Biggin and her teenage grandchildren at their home in Normanton Springs in Woodhouse. A post-mortem revealed a horrific catalogue of more than 60 injuries including razor-blade cuts to Mrs Panting's stomach and chest, cigarette burns to her back armpits and black eyes. There were so many bruises a pathologist could not count them all. But although Mr Biggin and his sons Martin, then 18 and Nathan, 16, were arrested on suspicion of murder, it could not be proven who was responsible for her injuries and no-one was ever prosecuted.

Please click on the link below to see further details from MIND, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Mencap and SCOPE. 

PDF IconExamples_of_how_and_when_Adult_safeguarding_has_failed.pdf 

There are also many other cases which do not hit the headlines but show us what can go wrong. Typical consequences are bullying, abusive friends and relatives, Deprivation of Liberty, food, money, warmth, racial harassment, name calling or intimidation.