Failure of a care system: If you’re names not down…

Dear Mum

I just had to write to you and tell you this. It made me sick.

It was an incident that left me flabbergasted. Completely.

Whilst out on a visit to a resident to commence the beginnings of resolving a community issue, she told me of a couple that lived next door but one.

It is not right to reveal or speculate for the benefit of this letter, any details of that conversation, other than to say that the poor woman had lived in the house since she was only 17, with a man twice her age. She had done so for the last two decades. I won’t describe the state of the house internally of the condition I am lead to believe it is in. Furthermore, the girl/woman has been seen no more than a handful of times over those two decades.

Thus, speculation of the neighbour pretty much reflects my own. It is not a nice speculation. But it is what it is and it might be very wrong.

What I found immensely and seriously disturbing was the response I got from the care services when I contacted them on my return to work.

Perhaps my initial email was not descriptive enough. Maybe I should have just called them on the phone. Either way, their response was worrying on so many levels.

First off, they responded by saying there is only a man registered to that address. Nobody else exists there. Well they do; at least according to the neighbours. And has done for a long time. On this basis, my email was rejected pretty much out of hand. So, I phoned them.

I nearly fell off my chair. Their response was this.

“We have no records for anybody living at that address, except him. There are no records for a woman living there. There is nothing we can do. What would you like us to do?”

It took me a second or two.

“Erm! Sorry, my background is in […] and that’s where I work. I’m contacting you because you’re the experts. That is your area.”

“But we have no record of her…”

“Then that starts bigger alarm bells ringing in my head. That there are only records of one male at that address; that the neighbours say there has been a woman living there with him for two decades. She’s not on your records – she has NO records! Isn’t that a bigger concern than some people who are on your books?”

That’s sort of where it ended, Mum. The woman said she would seek advice from her supervisor on it. They can’t go out and just turn up at a house, without the permission or consent of the person living there.

But how can someone who ‘doesn’t exist’ give any kind of permission?

I’m awaiting a return call from the woman or the supervisor. This surely needs sorting. But what do you do if the people who are supposed to be there either aren’t interested, or have their hands legislatively or bureaucratically tied? I’m sick to my stomach!

Things might change. They might take a view. Give me some hope that something will be done. I’m not holding my breath. Idiots – on the face of it. Baby P in London, that guy in Austria, Fritzl I think, who kept his daughter locked up for decades…those stories are real, aren’t they Mum. I don’t want similar to happen here. I don’t.

Anyway, I’ll let you know what happens. Something will. I’ll make sure of it.

Love, as always

Your son,

Thomas

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