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Standards of care: vital to safeguarding the rights of disabled people

February 2, 2010 7 comments

(* This article is co-authored with Charles O’Mahony, PhD fellow, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway)

According to an article in the Irish Times today, more than 500 official complaints (approx three a week) over the past two and a half years have been made regarding abuse and mistreatment of disabled people in residential settings.  The most serious incidents included allegations of abuse or physical assault by a staff member at a number of residential centres.

Currently Ireland has no mandatory standards or independent inspections for assessing care provided by residential services to disabled people.  Health Research Board statistics for 2008 show that there are more than 8,000 adults with an intellectual disability in receipt of full-time residential services. The majority of these services are provided through voluntary service providers at an approximate cost of €1.5bn to the Irish government.  Despite this volume of state funding, these services remain uninspected and unregulated.

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