Crimes in care homes rarely reported

Crimes committed against mentally and physically disabled people living in care homes are rarely reported to the police, according to a new study.

Thefts and sexual assaults on disabled people committed by care home staff or others are often treated as social or health and safety issues, researcher Kerstin Färm of Örebro Social Services told Swedish Radio.

Färm based her study on interviews with middle managers at 100 care homes in three Swedish municipalities.

She said that staff often don’t understand when a crime has taken place, and that residents often don’t understand that they are victims of crime. When there is no police investigation, the level of criminality remains unknown.

Färm added that despite reluctance to report crimes to the police, the social services often take other measures against assailants, with staff who steal or attack patients often facing dismissal.

Färm said the attitude of staff was due to ignorance, and compared it to the view of child abuse and violence against woman 30-50 years ago.