A provider that failed to protect people it cared for from sexual assault has been fined £363,000 at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday 15 September).
The company, which cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to failing to protect a woman who was resident at a care home it runs in Nottinghamshire from abuse and improper treatment. This resulted in her being sexually assaulted.
It also pleaded guilty to exposing the home’s other residents to significant risk of avoidable harm by failing to safeguard them from the risk of abuse.
As well as the fine, it was also ordered to pay £12,400.00 costs to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which prosecuted the offences.
The regulator brought the prosecution after the provider failed to manage a resident of one of its homes who showed an escalating pattern of sexualised behaviour towards the service’s other residents.
Over the year-and-a-half he was resident, 79 separate incidents were documented where he displayed inappropriate verbal and physical sexualised behaviour and assaulted people. At least eight residents and five staff were affected.
Despite this, and other evidence the service had indicating the person presented a sustained and serious threat to people, the provider did not manage the risk he posed or escalate concerns appropriately.
In April 2019, he entered the woman’s room and sexual assaulted her and was subsequently arrested and convicted of rape.
Under the Health and Social Care Act, care providers have a legal responsibility to protect people using their services from abuse and improper treatment. This includes implementing systems and processes, such as risk assessments, to prevent physical and mental harm.
At a previous hearing, the company pleaded guilty to failing to protect the woman from abuse and improper treatment. It also pleaded guilty to exposing the home’s other residents to significant risk of avoidable harm.
‘The company’s failure to protect a vulnerable woman in its care from a resident who was known to present a sexual threat is appalling,’ said Mary Cridge, CQC deputy chief inspector for adult social care. ‘The crime she was subjected to was avoidable.
‘Similarly, the company’s lack of safeguards to protect all residents at the home from the risk of abuse was unacceptable.’