Autistic woman ‘pimped out’ in care scandal

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From The Times, the Daily Mail and The Sun. Another example, I fear, of sex abuse on ethnic (Muslim) lines. 

An autistic woman whose condition meant she sought risky sex was allowed to be ‘pimped out’ to strangers by carers so she could ‘learn from her mistakes’, according to a report. The 23-year-old, who has learning difficulties, went through a two-month trial approved by a court during which random men would visit her Manchester care home for sex during daylight hours.

Carers feared she was at risk of sexual harm if she was allowed unsupervised access to males.  With permission from the court, Manchester City Council employed an organisation, Engage Support, to give her 24-hour support. Engage Support threatened to terminate its contract unless the woman was given more freedom.

She is also said to have had sex in public several times – including behind a bowling alley – after being taken out on “dates” to shisha bars . . . The woman, who had a troubled childhood and ran away from home ten times in five years, may have “been subjected to sexual activity with men, particularly Asian men” as a child, according to court papers submitted by the council. When she became a teenager, she was assessed as being among “the small percentage of young women with autism whose obsessional interest relates to men”, particularly “men from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds”. So while the newspapers are not spelling it out, I suspect this is another sex abuse case along ethnic lines, cf, Rotherham, Rochdale, Telford, and all the rest. I wonder who the workers of Engagae Support are? This nasty suspicious mind wants to know. 

…carers reported that the woman was “offering her telephone number to any number of Asian males” with whom she came into contact. She “doesn’t always recognise them when they arrive at the door and they sometimes don’t recognise her”.

One evening in July, she left the house and later told carers that she “got into a parked car with an Asian male and had sex”. “The male left her in the car and she was then picked up by two males. She is reported to have given one of the men oral sex while the other stood outside the car. He said, ‘Do it to my friend and I will see how good you are, then you can do it to me.’ She then left the car and met another man who she had sex with.”

Her care has been guided by the Court of Protection since her 18th birthday and in 2015 a judge ruled in 2015 that the woman was able to consent to sex. This ruling was overturned in June after she began sending explicit photos to a man who worked at a shisha bar. She was also said to have facetimed a taxi driver naked — “as he had asked her to do this”,

Her family condemned the scheme, accusing care authorities of allowing an ‘experiment’ that resulted in the ‘pimping out of a highly vulnerable young woman’ The scheme was ended after two months after a psychiatrist told a judge that continuing to expose the woman to high risk situations could lead to ‘sexual abuse, violence, injury or death’.

After ruling in 2015 that the woman was “unable to make decisions on her contact with men”, a year later a judge decided that she should be allowed to marry. During an escorted visit to a restaurant she had chatted with a young Bangladeshi waiter. They became friends and soon wanted to marry.

With the court’s approval, an Islamic wedding took place in the spring of last year, followed by a civil ceremony with staff from Engage Support, the company paid by Manchester council to care for the woman, acting as bridesmaids. After the marriage, care workers continued to look after the woman when her husband was not at home.

 Her birth family has no right of involvement since she is in the care of the local authority and they are not parties to the case. Her next of kin is legally her husband, the Bangladeshi waiter whom she married last year, and he was allowed to become a party to the Proceedings in the most recent hearing last month. 

Their families say he is devoted to her. But he was reportedly not informed of the court ruling that allowed her to have sex with men when he was not home and is said to feel “devastated and betrayed”.

…those with responsibility for the woman’s care have implied that he may have an ulterior motive. Before their marriage it was noted that the groom’s immigration status was uncertain. This year he was notified that his application for leave to remain in the UK on human rights grounds, based on his marriage, had been refused.

Engage Support withdrew from the contract earlier this month and the woman has been moved to a new care provider at a different location as her case goes to High Court.

The court commissioned Christopher Ince, a psychiatrist with expertise in autism, to reassess whether the woman had “capacity to make a decision on whether or not a man with whom she may wish to have sex is safe”. Dr Ince was also asked “whether he agrees with the proposals of [her] carers, Engage Support, to allow [her] to have unsupervised contact with unknown males both at home and in the community on the basis that [this] is in her best interests because it provides a learning opportunity despite the risk of her coming to harm”.

His report was damning. In Dr Ince’s opinion, the woman was unable to assess any risks posed by those who might want to have sex with her. There was no evidence that she would be able to learn from mistakes. The court-approved care plan was “inherently dangerous. . . To expose an individual who lacks capacity in this area to such a high level of risk — that may lead to sexual abuse, violence or ultimately their injury or death — as a ‘learning experience’ is disproportionate, not in their best interests, open to substantial criticism and frankly unprofessional.”

Under the terms of a new court order, issued by Judge Butler last month, areas or activities likely to have a “high presence of south Asian males” must be avoided until they have been risk-assessed. If sex in public seems likely, support staff must tell the man that he is “committing an exploitative act on a vulnerable female with a learning disability and autism”. Carers will then “support [her] to a place of safety”, using physical intervention if necessary.

Manchester council refused to tell The Times how much it had paid the company over the four-year contract. The Sun Online has contacted Manchester City Council and Engage Support for comment.

Since this morning The Times has published another article with more information

(Engage Support is) A small company with 22 employees, it specialises in services for “young people and adults with autism and associated learning disabilities”. Its owner is Paul Crowther, 49, who is also its director of health and social care.

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