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People with Learning Disabilities and the Scottish Criminal Justice System

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9. Information about health and social work services supporting people with a learning disability

Community Learning Disability Teams ( CLDTs)

Almost every Scottish local authority/ NHS Health Board has a Community Learning Disability Team. These are multi-disciplinary teams who can give advice and take referrals. CLDTs consist of a range of professionals such as community learning disability nurses, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians, podiatrists and arts therapists. CLDTs often operate an open referral system, accepting referrals from the person themselves, relatives or carers, or other related professionals. Some teams undertake work with children and most support adults with learning disability.

Individuals may already be known to their local CLDT, although it's not uncommon for people with a learning disability to have had no previous contact with services.

CLDTs vary in their experiences of commissioning services and working directly with offenders.

Some learning disability services may have teams or identified individuals who work specifically with offenders or they may have arrangements in place with local forensic mental health teams.

Specialist secure in-patient/hospital facilities

Scotland has a range of secure in-patient beds for people with a learning disability. There are different levels of security, depending on how serious a crime has been committed or how difficult an individual is to look after.

High Security: provided by The State Hospital. This service is for men; it would be very unusual for a woman to require high secure care.

Medium Security: from 2011 provided by the Rowanbank Clinic in Glasgow. This service is for men and women. A small number of men will also access hospital care in England if they require medium security.

Low Security: provided by many local Health Boards, though sometimes individuals will have to be treated further away from home. The majority of wards are for men only and unfortunately women may have to access hospital care in England if they require low security.

Information about specialist forensic services can be provided by the Scottish Forensic Network (Tel: 01555 842018). www.forensicnetwork.scot.nhs.uk

Local authority services

Community care social work services provide a wide range of services and support to adults who are in need of additional care and support. They work with individuals to determine their needs, and arrange services to meet these assessed needs.

Local authorities may provide day services, short breaks/respite care and long term care for a range of people including care and support at home, direct payments, equipment and adaptations and information and advice on debt and welfare benefits. Many of the support services for people with learning disabilities are provided by independent agencies under contract to a local authority. Some people with learning disabilities or their families employ their own workers through direct payments or play a part in directing their own care (through self-directed support).

Adult Support and Protection Act

A law called the ' Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007' came into force on October 2008. This law applies to adults (people aged 16 or over) who are unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interests, are at risk of harm or self-harm and are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity.

In other words, the Act covers those adults who are vulnerable to being hurt or harmed by other people mainly because they are less able to protect themselves.

Where a local authority believes that there is a risk of serious harm to an adult they can ask a judge to make a legal order to protect that person.

The judge can order a full assessment of the situation and removal of the person at risk from a risky situation for up to 7 days. The judge can also ban anyone who may harm the adult at risk from seeing that person for up to 6 months.

You can get more information on Adult Support and Protection at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1095/0059478.pdf

Adult Protection Committees

Part 1 of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 creates an obligation on councils to establish multi-agency Adult Protection Committees. These committees are responsible for overseeing local adult protection policies in their area. They will also be responsible for monitoring and advising on adult protection procedures, for ensuring appropriate cooperation between agencies and for improving the skills of those with a responsibility for the protection of adults at risk. You can get more information at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/01/06115617/0