Survey results of the abuse of autistic adults

  • A new survey from the National Autistic Society (NAS) has found that almost half of adults with autism have been abused by someone they regarded as a friend.

    According to Community Care:

    "The charity wants the government to make it explicit in the eligibility section of the regulations that assistance can include support to prevent abuse or neglect, such as prompting or supervision to carry out tasks or checking whether an autistic person has been in a situation that could make them vulnerable to exploitation. It also says a safeguarding inquiry should trigger a needs assessment.

    "It also wants the regulations to specify the level of training in autism an assessor should have before assessing a person with the condition."

    • The poll of more than 1,300 people with autism or their carers showed high levels of abuse, abandonment and solitude suffered by autistic adults.
    • It said more than a quarter had money or possessions stolen by someone they thought of as a friend and 37 per cent had been mandated to do something against their will.
    • 70 per cent of respondents who needed encouragement in order to eat had missed meals because they did not get this support and 86 per cent said they had not washed for the same reason.
    • Almost two thirds of those surveyed needed prompting to help them wash, dress or feed themselves.
    • 44 per cent of respondents stayed at home because they feared abuse.
    • 41 per cent of those surveyed said they often feel lonely compared with 11 per cent of the general population.
    • Two thirds felt depressed because of loneliness and over a third do not leave the house most days.

    Mark Lever, chief executive of the charity, said:

    "These alarming figures paint a depressing picture of the horrendous abuse and neglect experienced by many adults with autism. We have heard deeply distressing stories of men and women living in utterly intolerable conditions, exploited physically and financially by supposed friends or unable to care for themselves without support.

    "One professional told us of a man who had been found at home suffering from severe malnutrition and with mould growing on his skin as he was unable to feed or clean himself without prompting. This is utterly unacceptable in 21st century Britain.

    "We know that many people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives, but many others need support to stay safe and healthy. The government's changes to the care system offer a chance to support these at-risk individuals. However, we are incredibly concerned that the current proposals as they stand do not recognise the basic needs of these more vulnerable people with autism.

    "It's not too late. The eligibility criteria must be revised so that they explicitly recognise the support needs of those at risk of abuse and neglect and protect some of the most vulnerable people in society."

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