Robin Van Den Hende

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Information about Robin Van Den Hende

Published on November 28, 2008

Author: aSGuest4433


Autonomy, Safeguarding & Hate Crime : Autonomy, Safeguarding & Hate Crime Robin Van den Hende Policy & Campaigns Officer Who we are and what we do : Who we are and what we do Provides emotional and psychological support to victims and perpetrators of abuse who have learning disabilities. Provides training and support to professionals and carers.  Based in London. Works with staff in the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors to protect people with learning disabilities who may be at risk from abuse. Conducts research and disseminates good practice. Provides advice and information to parents and carers. Based in Nottingham. Supports people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable groups who have experienced crime or abuse. Supports their families, carers and professional workers. Trains police forces on assisting vulnerable and intimidated witnesses. Based in Derby. Campaign together on public policy and practice. Introduction : Introduction What is a disability hate crime? Key questions – safeguarding and disability hate crime Recent cases – similarities and differences Key messages - independence and safeguarding Questions and key messages - disability hate crimes What is a Disability Hate Crime? : What is a Disability Hate Crime? “Hate crime is any crime where the perpetrator’s prejudice against any identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised.” Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland “Any criminal offence which is perceived to be motivated because of a person’s disability or perceived disability, by the victim or any other person.” Association of Chief Police Officers Key Questions : Key Questions What do the similarities and differences between recent killings of people with learning disabilities tell us? Why did these crimes happen? Why were situations allowed to escalate? How can we both safeguarding people and ensure their independence? Were the victims selected because of their disability or because they were seen as an easy target? Laura Milne : Laura Milne Laura Milne had learning disabilities and was 19 years old. Lived in homeless accommodation in Aberdeen. Had regular contact with family. Described as naïve, easily manipulated and too trusting. Laura saw Stuart Jack, Debbie Buchan and Leigh Mackinnon as her friends. Buchan had “bullied” Laura since school. Laura and Buchan argued. Group punched and kicked Laura. Jack repeatedly stabbed Laura and cut her throat, killing her. Mutilated Laura’s body and tried to hide her body in a cupboard. Jack and Buchan later used mobile phone to record themselves boasting about the murder. Jack said of Laura “she’s worth fuck all”. Jack later stated he had murdered Laura for insulting his family. Jack admitted murder; jailed for minimum of 14 years. Buchan and Mackinnon admitted attempted murder; both jailed for 9 years. Brent Martin : Brent Martin Brent Martin had learning disabilities and mental health needs. He was 23 years old and lived in Sunderland. After leaving psychiatric care, he found his own flat and a job. He fell in with a group of youths, including William Hughes, Marcus Miller and Stephen Bonallie. The youths used £3,000 Brent had saved to buy drink and cigarettes. May 2007, they bet each other £5 that they could knock Brent out with a single punch. Miller knocked Brent unconscious twice. Shortly afterwards, Bonallie also hit him. Brent Martin : Brent Martin Brent suggests committing a house robbery. Later suggested in court that this was used as an excuse for what followed. Chase Brent over two housing estates, severely assaulting him. Brent left unconscious in the street. Dies two days later. Group pose for pictures and brag after the attack. Bonallie heard to say “I’m not going down for a muppet.” Hughes, Miller and Bonallie sentenced to life imprisonment. Their sentences later reduced on the grounds that the murder was not sadistic. Steven Hoskin : Steven Hoskin Steven Hoskin had learning disabilities and was 39. Youths use Steven’s bedsit to drink and take drugs. They include Darren Stewart, Martin Pollard and Sarah Bullock. Stewart stole Steven’s money and assaulted him. Steven cancelled his weekly community care assistant service. July 2006, Steven is detained in connection with shoplifting. He reluctantly admits Stewart’s and Bullock’s involvement. That night Steven is assaulted, made to wear dog collar and has cigarettes stubbed out on his head. Steven forced to falsely confess to being a paedophile and to swallow 70 painkillers. March Steven to top of a viaduct and force him over the edge – he falls to his death. Stewart sentenced to 25 years for murder. Bullock sentenced to 10 years for murder. Pollard sentenced to 8 years for manslaughter. Keith Philpott : Keith Philpott Keith Philpott had learning disabilities and was 36 years old. Lived alone in a flat in Stockton-on-Tees. Youths used his flat to hang out, including Gemma Swindon. They fell out and Gemma told her brother Sean that Keith had sexually assaulted her - no indication this allegation true. Sean Swindon recruited self-confessed paedophile-hater Michael Peart. March 2005, tied Keith up at his flat and seriously assaulted him over several hours. Sean Swindon used a kitchen knife to disembowel Keith and he was left to die. Sean Swindon and Michael Peart found guilty of murder. Sentences increased on appeal - Swindon to minimum 28 years and Peart minimum of 22 years. Raymond Atherton : Raymond Atherton David Raymond Atherton was 40 years old with learning disabilities. He lived in a flat in Warrington. Youths used his flat for drinking and taking drugs. They included Craig Dodd and Ryan Palin. He had a history of alcohol abuse and received regular social services visits. Dodd and Palin spent months “terroring” Raymond – assaults, harassment, shaving his hair, urinating on him, theft. Social services moved to another flat, but Dodd and Palin followed and “terroring” continued. Reluctant to report incidents or seek medical help – wanting to maintain independence. 8 May 2006, Dodd and Palin assaulted Raymond. They threw him into the Mersey, where he drowned. Dodd and Palin pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Dodd given minimum sentence 3 and a half years. Palin given 3 years. Commonalities : Commonalities All had learning disabilities. Predominantly men aged late 30s to early 40s. Lived on their own in the local community. Befriended by young people who they viewed as their friends. These “friends” abused and exploited them over a prolonged period. Killed by these “friends” or associates of them. Commonalities : Commonalities Killers were young – between 15 and 30. Killers had been drinking and / or taking drugs. Killings were brutal and prolonged. These crimes were not dealt with as disability hate crimes. All killers were convicted. Differences : Differences Some had regular contact with statutory agencies. Some had regular contact with their families; some were estranged. Murderers of Steven Hoskin and Keith Philpott incorrectly accused them of being paedophiles. Inquiry identified failures by statutory agencies in Steven Hoskin’s case. Inquiry cleared statutory agencies in Raymond Atherton’s case. Laura Milne only woman and younger than other victims. Independence & Safeguarding : Independence & Safeguarding People with learning disabilities want to be part of their communities and to have friends. People with learning disabilities may not identify risky situations or relationships. Some people may use this to exploit people with learning disabilities. Everyone has a right to make bad choices and to refuse help. Independence is not the only measure of quality of life – people must be safe. Yet, services must avoid paternalism. Independence & Safeguarding : Independence & Safeguarding When and how should services intervene? People with learning disabilities need the support of others to make choices and maintain an optimum level of independence. Empower people with learning disabilities by giving them the skills and knowledge to make informed choices. Tackle abusers promptly (e.g. act on anti-social behaviour and low level exploitation) and provide support to victims and their families. It is not Independence vs. Safeguarding. Disability Hate Crime : Disability Hate Crime Were any of these cases disability hate crimes? Were they at least partly motivated by prejudice or hostility based on disability? Recognising the motive does justice to the victim and is essential for preventing similar crimes in future. Vulnerability can overshadow disablism. Vulnerability, drink and drugs – explanations or opportunities for disablism? What lessons could be learnt from perpetrator’s backgrounds? The issue of perpetrator and victim relationships. One motive can become another. Why did things escalate? Why were these crimes so vicious? What do these cases say about society? Disability Hate Crime : Disability Hate Crime It is not Safeguarding vs. Disability Hate Crime. Keep an open and enquiring mind. Probe beneath the surface. Don’t accept “motiveless” as an explanation. The End : The End Voice UK Rooms 100-106, Kelvin House RTC Business Park London Road Derby DE24 8UP 01332 291 042 Helpline: 0845 122 8695 Ann Craft Trust Centre for Social Work University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD 01159 515 400 Respond Third Floor 24-32 Stephenson Way London NW1 2HD 020 7383 0700 Helpline: 0808 808 0700

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