Survey by National Autistic Society found half of adults with autism have been “abused by someone they trusted as a friend”

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The National Autistic Society (NAS)
– have today launched their ‘Careless Campaign,’ The NAS state on their Facebook Page:

‘With a consultation under way on the government’s new criteria for eligibility for adults to access social care, we’re deeply concerned that this new legislation will see levels of support and care drop.

The NAS go on further to state that:

‘Our survey as reported here in the Guardian found that half of autistic adults have been “abused by someone they trusted as a friend”, you can read more about Adrian Palmer’s tragic lack of support.’

Tracy McVeigh in The Observer wrote an article based on the NAS findings. She highlights the case of Margaret Palmer’s grandson who was murdered, Adrian Palmer had Asperger’s Syndrome and was diagnosed at 14. Margaret says in the article:

“The cruelty, the unkindness, the lack of understanding towards people with autism is horrifying. Not just police and social services, but people, the public,”

Adrian was assessed for support at 18, his family knew he was at risk and that he needed help with the transition into adulthood. However although the assessment found that Adrian was easily led, the risks that were identified were not deemed enough for him to receive support.

Adrian reported being raped by a man when aged 21. The man had befriended him. His parents appealed to the police and social services and finally a small amount of evening support was approved.

‘Five days later in May 2006 Adrian was killed by the man he had accused of rape.Under the government’s proposed criteria, Adrian would not have been eligible for support.’

Margaret Palmer tells of how a little support might have changed everything.

“You try your best but you need some support sometimes, not every family does but some do. We did. But the police do nothing, the social services do nothing.”

The survey carried out by the NAS marks the launch of its new campaign, Careless. The survey found that

  • 44% of those questioned admitted they stayed indoors as much as possible for fear of being harassed.
  • Almost a third reported having had money or possessions stolen.
  • 37% had been forced or manipulated into doing something they didn’t want to do by someone they thought of as a friend.
  • 49% of the 1,300 people surveyed reported having been abused by someone they thought of as a friend.

The NAS is deeply concerned that legislation at present will see levels of support and care drop.

Tom Madders, NAS campaign manager said:

“Only half of local authorities even offer a pathway to diagnosis. We’re starting to pick up kids who have autism a little better but for adults services are too few and far between. We hear a lot about harassment and isolation, about people being arrested when they haven’t committed a crime, but these survey results, the abuse and the neglect, still shocked us,”

He further added:

“People with autism can find it difficult to interpret others’ motivations, misjudge relationships, and left unsupported many are taken advantage of. Our key concern is that government plans for the care system could make this desperate situation even worse. The new criteria take away entitlement of support for people if ‘abuse has occurred or will occur’, but that is an essential criteria for vulnerable people with autism.”

The NAS are urging individuals to make sure that the Government protects adults with autism. You can email the Care Minister, Norman Lamb, using the online form here