Stephen Neary is 20 years old, and needs your help. He is detained against his will, and that of his father with whom he previously lived.
Stephen has autism, and went into respite a year ago whilst his father recovered from the flu. A 3 day placement has turned into a year long nightmare, after he was transferred from a respite centre he was familiar with because staff could not cope with his behaviour caused by the distress of family seperation. Now detained under the mental capacity act in a positive behaviour unit, and due to undergo a hearing at the court of protection where the local authority want to assume guardianship, Stephen has no voice, no rights. He was seen as dangerous simply because he taps people on the shoulder to attract attention. A habit seen as assault, and causing Stephen to be detained. Learning disabled instead of mentally ill Stephen cannot use the tribunal process under the mental health act. He can be assessed for capacity, but this is paid for by the local authority, the very people who want to assume responsibility for his welfare.
If Stephen belonged to an ethnic minority, and was detained on those grounds, rightly there would be an outcry. Stephen is disabled however so somehow its seen as not newsworthy, not important, and by most probably not wrong. However it should be newsworthy, it is important, and it is wrong. Stephen has rights to the best possible quality of life, and as far as possible to make choices with the necessary support, but he is being denied this. Instead he is locked away not for wrongdoing, but because his needs were misunderstood. A misunderstanding that has led to Stephen being parted from his family, and his secure, and familiar life. Familiar routine and security help people like Stephen thrive, yet he has been denied this.
Soon it will be to late to publicise this story, not allowed under Court Of Protection procedure, to protect his privacy. Stephen does not need privacy, he needs us to shout so that he can get the care he needs and wants. His name must become as familiar as your own we cannot forget him, we cannot allow Stephen Neary to ‘rot’ in an inappropriate placement,
This is Stephen’s story, but it could be the story of any one of us, any disabled person, or someone who challenges the system, anyone who it is easier to lock up than support. We must act to save Stephen, and those who would follow before its so common that we are no longer shocked.
Crimson agrees to this piece being shared in the fight to save Stephen, and others like him, as long as it is credited appropristely.
Reposted with kind thanks to The Crimson Crip