The Government has published its response to the Joint Committee on Human Right’s report on the treatment of people with a learning disability and/or autism who are locked away in inpatient units.

Mencap commented on the Government's response stating that it provides "little assurance that this domestic human rights scandal is being addressed with the urgency needed."

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

“The Government’s response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights report provides little assurance that this domestic human rights scandal is being addressed with the urgency needed. This week, we have seen further evidence of the shocking human rights abuses taking place in these institutions in a report by the Care Quality Commission.  

“During lockdown, the Government missed its own target to reduce the number of people locked away in inpatient units for the second year running. Over 2000 people who have a learning disability and/or autism continue to be locked away in these hospitals. Yet we still do not have a clear timeline or action plan that’s desperately needed to drive forward the change we need to see on the ground.  

“The Government must urgently plug the funding gap in its forthcoming spending review to stabilise the social care sector and develop the vital local support services people need, as well as deliver the cross-government strategy to drive forward the change required to truly transform our social care system. People have a right to live in their own homes, not hospitals.”

Read the Government’s “JCHR reports on the detention of young people with learning disabilities or autism: government response” here:


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Notes to editors:

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.Mencapworks to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.Mencapsupports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they

For advice and information about learning disability andMencapservices in your area, contactMencap’s FreephoneLearning Disability Helplineon 0808 808 1111 (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or     

What is a learning disability?

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;
  • Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.