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'Missed opportunities' in hate crime case
Tuesday 15 November 2011
Mencap calls for improved adult safeguarding after Gemma Hayter case review criticises care agencies
A serious case review has found that care workers and other agencies missed chances to intervene to protect a woman with a learning disability, who was tortured and killed by people she regarded as friends.
Gemma Hayter, 27, was found dead on a disused railway line in Rugby in Warwickshire on 9 August 2010. This September, three people were jailed for life for her murder.
A case review into her death, and the care she received, was launched last year, by the Warwickshire Safeguarding Adults Board. It found no evidence that her killing could have been prevented, but highlighted missed opportunities.
The review concluded that it was clear Ms Hayter was believed to be at risk and found there were chances to initiate safeguarding procedures, assessments or other interventions and for agencies to share information.
The report stated: ‘No single agency had a full picture of what was happening in Gemma's life: there were a number of missed opportunities for initiating safeguarding procedures, assessments or other interventions and for agencies to share information.’
David Congdon, Mencap's head of campaigns and policy, said: “Today's serious case review into the death of Gemma Hayter raises many questions about how social services and other public bodies respond to the needs of vulnerable adults in their communities.
“It is clear from the review that no agency took full responsibility for Gemma’s case and this tragically contributed to her death. All of this reinforces the need for adult safeguarding to be given a strong legislative framework to help keep vulnerable people safe.”
The review follows the announcement of government plans to amend the Criminal Justice Act (2003), so that sentences for murders motivated by hatred or hostility towards disabled or transgender victims will be increased, starting at 30 years.