Caroline Abrahams (Age UK) and Mark Lever (The National Autistic Society) appointed to co-chair the Care and Support Alliance

The Care and Support Alliance (CSA) has appointed Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, and Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society, as co-chairs. They replace Vicky McDermott, Chief Executive of Papworth Trust who is leaving the adult social care sector.

The CSA is an Alliance of over 80 charities campaigning for a properly funded care system alongside the millions of older people, disabled people and their carers who deserve decent care. Members include: Carers UK, Scope, MacMillan, British Red Cross, RNIB and Mind.

Social care is chronically underfunded. In the last seven years budgets have been cut by £6bn in real terms. As a result, half a million fewer older and disabled people receive care now than did five years ago , and research has estimated that more than one million people are not getting the care they need.

Care and Support Alliance

Caroline and Mark put themselves forward as co-chairs to ensure the leadership of the Alliance reflected the importance of care to working age disabled adults and older people, as well as families and carers. They take over at an important time for the sector as the Government have committed to a consultation on adult social care.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

“Mark and I agree it is crucial that the Care and Support Alliance is, and is seen to be, equally passionate about the importance of social care for disabled and mentally ill adults and older people, as well as for their carers, and our co-chairing arrangement is a concrete expression of this on our part. We must stand together across the whole of the social care sector.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said:

“This is set to be an important year for social care and the Alliance needs to step up and hold the Government to its pledge of putting the system on a sustainable financial basis for the future. I am really looking forward to working with Caroline and with all our Alliance members to bring the full force of the millions whom we represent behind our shared campaign goals.”

Note to editors

The Care and Support Alliance represents more than 80 of Britain’s leading charities campaigning alongside the millions of older people, disabled people and their carers who deserve decent care.

Media contact

Ari Haque, Tel: 020 7923 5723 Email: ari.haque@nas.org.uk

Autistic children being subjected to ‘mate crime’

Sarah Cassidy writes in The Independent – Children with Asperger’s syndrome and autism are being bullied, abused and even robbed by people they think are their friends, according to a study revealing the horrific extent of so-called “mate crime”.

A staggeringly high number of people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome are subjected to mate crime, a form of disability hate crime in which a vulnerable person is manipulated or abused by someone they believed to be their friend, a survey by an autism charity found.

autismThe research uncovered heartbreaking stories of abuse – including one vulnerable young person who was tricked into giving his debit card and pin number to a so-called friend who then used it to run up huge bills.

The parents of one 17-year-old told researchers how their daughter was robbed of her IPod and phone by classmates at school – and now had a boyfriend who “always turns up when it is her payday for her DLA”.

A parent of a 14-year-old boy who responded to the survey said, “My son is absolutely harmless and extremely vulnerable. It is so hard explaining that people are making fun of him.”

The report was based on an online survey of nearly 150 people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome or their carers conducted by Wirral Autistic Society earlier this year.

Robin Bush, chief executive of the society, said: “Mate crime is morally reprehensible and these people are cowards. People with autism struggle enough with the complexities of daily life without having to live in fear that people who pretend to be their friends will steal from them, assault them or encourage them to commit crimes on their behalf.”

The report found that 80 per cent of respondents over the age of 16 felt they had been bullied or taken advantage of by someone they had thought was a friend. This compares to a figure of 49 per cent when the National Autistic Society asked the same question of over-18s in a nationwide survey last year.

The most vulnerable age group was 16 to 25, while eight out of ten said that fear of bullying had led them to turn down social opportunities.

“People who scheme and bully for self-gratification should crawl under a stone and stay there”