Council wants to watch abuse survivor shower and toilet to check post-ILF needs


A disabled woman has told how her local council is threatening to spend several days watching her every move as she eats showers and uses the toilet, in order to check if planned cuts to her care package will meet her needs.

The woman, Jane*, a survivor of serious sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and a former Independent Living Fund (ILF) recipient, spoke about the council’s “violation” at a parliamentary campaign meeting this week.

The meeting was held to launch Inclusion London’s report on the impact of last year’s ILF closure, as part of the Rights Not Games week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)**.

The report, One Year On: Evaluating The Impact Of The Closure Of The Independent Living Fund, includes information from all 33 London local authorities, and concludes that there has been a “dramatic postcode lottery” in the support provided to former ILF recipients since the fund closed.

In four local authority areas, more than half of former ILF recipients have had their care packages cut since it closed.

In all, at least 185 former ILF recipients have so far seen their support cut, out of a total of about 1,300 across London.

The report calls for a national, needs-led system of support, independent of local authorities, free at the point of delivery and paid for through taxation.

Jane told the meeting, which was hosted by Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, that as an ILF recipient she had received 84 hours of support a week (including 35 paid for by the council), but the local authority wanted to cut this by 46 hours a week.

The 84 hours support – together with unpaid care provided by her personal assistants that means she is supported almost 24 hours a day – has enabled her to participate in her local community, chair three disability organisations, and even attend the Glastonbury festival to deliver a talk about disability rights.

After the ILF closure, her council initially wanted to cut her care from 12 to three hours a day, but is now suggesting a package of 38 hours a week.

It has already suggested that she could survive on microwave meals – which she says would both damage her health and be unaffordable – and use incontinence pads for up to 12 hours a day.

But at the last meeting with council officials earlier this summer, she was told that once the cuts to her package were in place, they wanted to send a team of people to observe the impact on how she uses the toilet, showers, gets in and out of bed and her wheelchair, and feeds herself.

She was in tears as she told this week’s parliamentary meeting: “That really breaks me. I can’t bear the thought of having a team of people invade my privacy, come to my toilet, my bedroom.

“It was bad enough when they suggested I use nappies, incontinence pads; to feel so violated in the name of saving money… I want every single person to stand up and stop this.”

She had earlier described in a post on DPAC’s website that such action would be an “incredible, humiliating, dehumanising invasion of my privacy and home” and a “stripping away of every last vestige of my dignity”.

Jane said this made her feel like “a goldfish in a bowl, lacking privacy, freedom, spontaneity, rights, dignity; dreading when the plug is going to be pulled by people who think it’s okay to leave one without the funds and care and mobility support which keep me afloat”.

She told Disability News Service after the meeting: “When they cut, these cuts will be hurting people who are already struggling. It is so inhuman.

“They don’t consider the mental and psychological effects of what they are doing, let alone the physical.

“It is torture that they are putting people through and it can be so far-reaching. They have no idea of what people are living with.”

*Not her real name

**DPAC has set up a legal fund to help former ILF recipients like Jane challenge cuts to their support packages

Picture: Protesters performing outside Downing Street after the Inclusion London meeting 

  • User Ratings (18 Votes)
  • Graham Turvill

    Just dispicable , disabled people have a right in any CIVILISED country to the best possible quality of life that is achievable with either their physical or mental disability. This is a statutory requirement meaning it’s law and its in most health and social care legislation. When s government slashes funding to the point that statutory requirements can not be met then there is a serious problem.

  • Janette Morris

    Vile disgusting behavior. its sick how dare the do this to a disabled survivor of serious sexual, physical and emotional abuse. totally despicable.

    • Rebecca

      It killed my nephew. He was the survivor of some dreadful child abuse and then he was wrongly called to be re-assessed by the DWP (he was still a student) Rather than face that he killed himself – and it was no coincidence that the preceding months were also the time when the Saville stories were finally breaking. He died the same day one of the Saville reports hit the press. Even before we had news of his death, I remembered thinking, “What will this do to him?” .

      • Janette Morris

        I,m so sorry for the loss of your nephew. condolences to all of your family and friends x

  • Rebecca

    What ARE these people! That’s an utter violation of dignity and human rights! I don’t know if anyone on here can contact her but a new group about disabled survivors rights which has just formed is looking for speakers and writers. I’m sure they would be happy to hear from her!

    • MEAMEA

      What’s the group called, Rebecca?

  • Denize O’Leary

    I had a re-assessment and was asked when they could come back to see me. I told them any day but the following Monday as I had no PA that day. Lo and behold the following Monday the OT who was conducting the assessment turned up on my doorstep, pushed her way in to my house despite my telling her I didn’t want her there as I was on my own and announced that she had come to ‘give me a shower’. I was horrified! I argued as best I could but in the end she insisted she had every right and was fully qualified to shower me, on her own, or otherwise my whole package of care would be stopped immediately. Nobody had seen me naked or with my new colostomy apart from my carer, who I chose myself, and taken a long time to trust. This council employee bullied me into undressing in front of her, with her yanking off my clothes when I couldn’t manage, and then when I was finally in the shower she abandoned me there and disappeared to look around my house. I shouted and called for her, but she left me there for at least 10-15 mins, in a slippery environment, unsupervised, when I couldn’t get out without help. I managed to get to the door of the bathroom and open it, and she was nowhere in sight, and eventually came up the stairs, stating that she had left her handbag downstairs. I was furious, ashamed of myself for allowing her to bully me, and felt vulnerable and totally abused. She didn’t want to help to dry me, saying I could do it if I really tried, and the same with getting dressed. I ended up with just a dressing gown on because I just wanted to get rid of her. I questioned her about why she left me alone, and why she was downstairs and she wouldn’t answer. She tried to change the subject each time. I kept my cool the whole time she was in my home but was incredibly upset and shook for hours after she left. I never received a copy of her report, and the social worker recommended that my care package was cut from 17 hours a week to just 4. After requesting copies of her report I found it was full of lies of what had happened that day. She even said that I had lifted the mattress on my bed to show her how I was able to change the sheets, which I am unable to do. I obviously put in a formal complaint regarding the incident, but the reply from ‘head of social services’ stated that maybe there was a clash of personality and that she had a different version of events.

    • Norma Ferrie

      This is truely a disgrace,
      I would have piont blank refused..regardless if she cut my money…I would have contacted disability discrimination..
      Because what these people are are saying..because your disabled and claiming your not entitled to dignity and respect…would they go in to persons house who is able bodied and working and do to them what they did to you? Of course not

      Thats why it’s discriminatory, the rights of privacy, dignity, and respect are afforded to every human being….unless the powers that be make decisions to conduct themselves in a manner that imposes violations simple because your disabled…

      Make sure she hasn’t placed a hidden camera or listening device

      I wouldn’t put anything past them.

      I hope you manage to recover from the vile acts Commited against you in the name of cuts.
      Keep you chin up..take care xc

  • Linda Costal

    That is disgusting! They need to be charged to abuse of authority and lose their job.