A resource to help families in justice crisis

To read on Justice Together website:

Justice Together

justice crisis

Thomas Rawnsley, a young man with autism, Down’s syndrome and learning difficulties, who was under the care of his local authority, died on 4 February 2015. Thomas had been placed by the Court of Protection in a specialist facility against his wishes and against the wishes of his family.

His family had been fighting for 3 years to get him back home. During this time, Thomas suffered abuse at the hands of care staff. His story, documented here and here, is a terrible indictment of our care system and how we treat people who have learning difficulties (LD) and are vulnerable.

It is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. You can read here about the sad death of Connor Sparrowhawk and here of Nico Reed (links), both in specialist care facilities. Despite a commitment from the government in Transforming Care: A national response Winterbourne View Hospital to ensure that all young people with LD are moved out of these facilities and into appropriate placements in their communities by June 2014, there are currently still 2,600 young people with LD in specialist facilities.  The LB Bill is looking to introduce a Private Member’s Bill so that the law helps our young people to stay in their local community.

Bringing Us Together

However, many families have experienced, are experiencing and will experience similar in the future.  So as the wheels of change move slowly, ever-pausing, in their journey to a world where our children and young people are an integral part of our community, Bringing Us Together and friends wanted to try to do something to help

Justice Together - a new project to support families in crisisJustice Together

We know that there are many people and organisations out there with knowledge, experience and advice to offer to families in this kind of crisis, but often the family do not know they exist, so their support comes too late or not at all.

Bringing Us Together and friends want to produce a database of all the support available to families who need help when they are in crisis; whether their child is detained against their will and the will of their families, or if they are involved in a safeguarding incident with a provider/educational provision or if the families themselves are victims of the system.

Short Term Goal:

  • To produce and provide a database of ALL support available to families.
  • Bringing Us Together will co-ordinate Justice Together.

Mid Term Goal:

  • To provide as much support as possible to families of children and young people with disabilities who are in crisis
  • Where possible, to provide resources and support to stop the progression of crises that lead to any form of deprivation of liberty

Long Term Goal

  • To raise public awareness of the issues relating to any form of deprivation of liberty and other safeguarding issues for people with disabilities
  • We will use the knowledge and information to raise awareness with families.
  • Informed parents will be able to make informed choices and decisions.


  • Children and young people with disabilities will not be detained against their wishes/the wishes of their families in inappropriate state funded facilities
  • Good quality community placements will be found for children and young people with disabilities who are at risk of any form of detention or are in crisis
  • Children and young people with disabilities will be acknowledged as “credible” witnesses
  • Improved services for families around Transition
  • Working towards finding ways to enable families to keep Children and Young People in their Communities

How will it work?

  • Bringing Us Together will co-ordinate Justice Together.
  • In time, and with funding, there will be regional Justice Together Co-ordinators.
  • Regional Justice Together Co-ordinators will put together and maintain databases of people in their region with skills and knowledge, who are willing to assist Justice Together on a voluntary basis
  • Regional Justice Together Co-ordinators will put together a list of good quality providers in their region
  • Regional Justice Together Co-ordinators will deploy their team of appropriately skilled and knowledgeable volunteers who can quickly come together to provide advice, guidance, advocacy, emotional and practical support to the family in crisis
  • For families heading towards crisis, the same will be available but on a smaller and less intensive scale

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