Joint statement from Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation:

The CQC report highlights that mental health services are failing to protect vulnerable people. Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation are deeply concerned that in many hospitals, abusive practices, such as patients being over-restrained, locked up and over medicated, are being allowed to continue. People's needs are simply not being understood.

People with a learning disability are particularly vulnerable, because they often can't speak up for themselves. At Winterbourne View, where shocking abuse was uncovered in 2011, most of the people with a learning disability had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The abuse, bullying and humiliation which took place there included the inappropriate use of restraint.

The CQC recognises that urgent action is needed. This must address the needs of people with a learning disability."


The CQC Annual Mental Health Act PDF report can be found here 

For further information or to interview a Mencap spokesperson, please contact: or 020 7696 6017.

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.

Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.

The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability.

 The Challenging Behaviour Foundation

Behaviour can be described as challenging when it is of such an intensity, frequency or duration as to threaten the quality of life and/or the physical safety of the individual or others and it is likely to lead to responses that are restrictive, aversive or result in exclusion.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation provides information, support and training around challenging behaviour associated with severe learning disabilities, and leads the ‘Challenging Behaviour National Strategy Group’ which seeks to influence policy and practice nationally on behalf of individuals who challenge and their families.

‘Severe learning disability’ is a developmental disability meaning the individual has a significantly reduced ability to learn new skills. Individuals with severe learning disabilities typically have very limited communication skills, often non verbal, and need help with daily living skills such as eating and dressing. Challenging behaviour shown by individuals with severe learning disabilities may include aggression, self injury, disruptive and destructive behaviours, stereotyped behaviour, and is most often due to their lack of ability to communicate their needs.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation was founded in 1997 by Vivien Cooper, parent of a son with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging. Today the Challenging Behaviour Foundation is in regular contact with over 4500 families and professionals across the UK. There are an estimated 30,000 individuals in England with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging.

For more information visit or contact The Challenging Behaviour Foundation: