Wales advocacy surveys
Advocacy surveys finds widespread human rights breaches of vulnerable people
People across Wales, including those living in care homes, have seen their human rights breached and some of their access to advocacy, health and social care suspended during the pandemic, find two surveys of professional advocates based in Wales.
The reports have been jointly produced by advocacy services across Wales following surveys that were undertaken in June 2020 and 2021 during UK lockdowns.
The advocates, who are in a unique position to identify weaknesses in systems and blanket abuses of rights, were not only concerned by some of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic but also with some of the prejudices within society towards vulnerable people.
Natasha Fox, Advocacy West Wales-Eiriolaeth Gorllewin Cymru, said: “The findings in these sector-wide reports make for shocking reading and show the stark reality of worsening inequalities for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities across Wales. Advocates and their organisations have worked together to provide evidence about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the people we support.”
The surveys found that people’s needs are not being met or even assessed despite legal obligations on local authorities being unchanged. There were consistent failures to implement the Mental Capacity Act which meant that people who are unable to make decisions, were not being listened to and their interests were ignored.
Our Head of Safeguarding, Louise Hughes, who helped produce the report, said: “People are at greater risk of abuse or harm because of the impact of the restrictions, the removal of essential services and the absence of independent safeguards in the settings where people live.
A core tenet of advocacy is to redress inequality so that people’s rights are upheld and that they are respected as individuals who are listened to and understood irrespective of who they are or any health condition or diagnosis they may have. Advocacy has a vital role in improving people’s health and wellbeing that must not be overlooked.”
The reports call for an urgent priority to reinforce the rights and improve the support of people who rely on social care. There needs to be a new political and public consensus so that we are all supported to live full lives in our communities.