This commentary will use recent events in Cornwall to highlight the ongoing abuse of adults with learning disabilities in England. It will critically explore how two parallel policy agendas – namely, the promotion of choice and independence for adults with learning disabilities and the development of adult protection policies – have failed to connect, thus allowing abuse to continue to flourish. It will be argued that the abuse of people with learning disabilities can only be minimised by policies which reflect an understanding that choice and independence must necessarily be mediated by effective adult protection measures. Such protection needs to include not only an appropriate regulatory framework, access to justice and well-qualified staff, but also a more critical and reflective approach to the current orthodoxy which promotes choice and independence as the only acceptable goals for any person with a learning disability.
Fyson, R., & Kitson, D. (2007). Independence or Protection - does it have to be a choice? Reflections on the abuse people with learning disabilities in Cornwall. Critical Social Policy, 27(3),