Ben, who was autistic and had learning disabilities, lived in a care home in Devon for 17 months. Ben was mistreated by staff there and he and his family brought a human rights legal challenge against the care home. Staff at the care home used unnecessary physical restraint against him; took away his toys and clothes because they said they were not “age appropriate”; and punished Ben by sending him to a “quiet room” which was locked and had no natural light, bed or toilet. Ben was sometimes left there overnight and would often cry, scream, self-harm and sometimes wet himself but staff did not come in or let him out. The care home admitted this was a breach of Ben’s Article 3 right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment. Staff also restricted Ben’s visits with his family as a punishment and recorded and listened to his private phone calls, sometimes telling his mother, Claire, that she was being too “childish” when she joked with him. There was even one occasion when Ben was not allowed to see Claire for 42 days and was told that she had died. The care home admitted this was a breach of Ben’s and Claire’s Article 8 rights to private and family life. The case settled out of court and the care home agreed to pay compensation and make formal apologies to Ben and Claire.
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