This blog post is dedicated to all the vulnerable people like Michael Gilbert who were targetted and, even, killed because of their disability.
Michael Gilbert, 26, was killed by a family of criminals who kept him enslaved for 10 years. They partly lived off his income benefit and, for entertainment, beat him regularly. He tried to run away a few times but these despicable people found him and dragged him back. Finally, they killed him. A review into poor Michael’s life has concluded that he was let down by the authorities who were meant to have been looking after him.
A newspaper today has published a picture of Michael as a baby and he looks a happy little thing. I love children and the photo particularly has moved me to write this blog. How can society fail any human being who is disabled and who cannot look after themselves? Is this a case of the ‘excessive indivualism’ that has become a catchword for the failure of society to act collectively against what is wrong and immoral?
Katharine Quarmby, author of ‘Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People?”, says that ‘…disabled people are routinely robbed, tortured and…killed by so-called friends or those considered to be proxy families’. She calls for three reviews: 1. serious case reviews for all deaths of vulnerable adults; 2. a clear directive on the legality of information sharing (to make sharing of information between various organisations easier); and 3. police must be involved in serious safeguarding referrals.
If this is what it takes to protect the disabled then I hope the authorities are listening. Please do leave a comment below or of someone you know who has suffered. I have a vested interest in the protection of the vulnerable in society because I am a Director of The Powerhouse Trust which is a charity for women with learning difficulties and disablities.