My beautiful son Chris spent yet another Birthday incarcerated in an Institution last year. His 21st Birthday was memorable for all the wrong reasons as we had just found out that he had been subjected to the most appalling physical and psychological abuse by his paid hospital carers.
This was devastating for this was not the first time Chris had suffered abuse. My son had been the subject of a serious abuse previously and his Human Rights were found to have been breached. We had been assured this would never happen again....that this time he would be SAFE.
Chris has a diagnosis of Severe Autism and Severe Learning Difficulties and this combined with a Severe Speech and Language Deficit leaves him unable to communicate and as such he is extremely vulnerable. Like any other young man his age he has never-ending energy - he wants exciting things to do, action, to be with his brother, Luke whom he loves dearly. But, unlike most other young men, Chris has been locked away and often in seclusion from all society in a secure hospital since 2011. We kept trying to make plans for Chris when he was at school but we were never listened to. We were told there was nowhere for him to go, so he was sent to an assessment and treatment unit run by Calderstones NHS Trust, aged 19.Just out of school, a young man with his life ahead of him, Chris was sent to a secure unit many miles from us, his family. All because the local council failed to work with us to plan for his future.
Forgotten by everyone but us, his family, loving him, doing everything we can to get him out, yet sadly, it is clear to us, his family, that despite his diagnosis, Chris' biggest challenge is that he has the misfortune to live in an area under a Local Authority who have a proven track record within the Court System of having failed him miserably and even more alarming, is that this is continuing. My son has never been given the chance to live a life and the result is a life lost.
Here is a young man with not a malicious bone in his body, he is not a criminal, he simply lacks capacity. Chris is one of life's innocents.I watched the Winterbourne View abuse scandal unfold on TV. It is chilling that places like this still exist, and it fills me with terror that my son remains isolated and totally alone in one of these units. Starved of everyday stimulation the rest of society take for granted, his frustration of his predicament has become unbearable to witness: no education, lack of exercise or activity, constantly shadowed, scrutinised and reported on, ignored, talked at - not with, subdued with high levels of medication cocktails, a place where he has been abused, where we have seen him dangerously restrained face down by 7 members of staff and where he has received multiple unexplained injuries.
We have made our concerns known but we are ignored and Chris is referred to in a perfunctory manner, summed up with the phrase 'His needs are being met'. I fear for his safety everyday. I am his mother and I ask everyone, how can this happen in a civilised, democratic society in 2015?Calderstones NHS Trust has so much power and control over the unit and they have made it so we can’t see Chris. It has been 16 months since we have seen him and held him. For Chris this is so traumatic, he just won’t understand why we are not there and his self-injuring will keep getting worse and worse the longer he is forced to live like this. As his mother my heart is broken. I know if Chris had a voice he would say he wants to be with us right now.We know Chris could be supported to live in the community. We know there are organisations that can give my son the right care and the right housing. They have said they will happily work with Chris and us to provide a safe and stimulating environment for him - and it would cost far less than the astronomical amount of £12,000+ per week currently being spent. But Chris continues to languish, there is no urgency or mercy shown.While professionals in Wigan Council and Calderstones NHS Trust refuse to listen to us, Chris remains trapped. Luke and I feel we are losing him, mentally and physically. We want him back close to us so we can love, care and protect him.Please, help me bring my son home #BringChrisHome