Care home company fined £363,000 for failing to protect woman raped by another resident
A care home provider has been fined £363,000 after failing to protect a woman who was raped by another resident responsible for almost 80 “sexualised” and violent incidents.
The firm, which cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was also ordered to pay £12,441 in prosecution costs at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court (pictured) on Wednesday.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) prosecuted the company after what was described in court as its failure to respond effectively to a series of incidents involving a man who was eventually convicted of eight sexual offences at Nottingham Crown Court in 2019.
Sentencing the company, which admitted two charges under the 2008 Health and Social Care Act relating to a care home in Nottinghamshire, District Judge Leo Pyle said there had been a “marked change” within the firm since the failings.
The judge told the court: “The court should ensure that the effect of the fines is proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
“This case in my view involves high culpability.
“Staff were raising concerns, management were not acting. In my view it was a systemic failure within the organisation. There is no minimising the harm caused by the male resident – that is reflected in the convictions at the Crown Court.
“His behaviour affected residents and staff. It should have been addressed earlier.
“During that period it would have been obvious… that there was a high likelihood of harm.”
The charges stated that the firm failed to protect the woman who was raped “from abuse and improper treatment resulting in avoidable harm” and had failed “to have systems and processes in place and operating effectively” to avoid harm to service users.
During the opening of the case by the CQC’s barrister, it was stated that there had been 79 incidents of violence and sexualised behaviour involving the male resident.
Prior to sentence, defence lawyer Mark Ruffell, offering mitigation, said what had happened in the care home, amid a “geyser” of difficulties from many different residents on multiple occasions, was unique.
Mr Ruffell said the company accepted that staff should have “joined the dots” but stressed that eight or nine safeguarding referrals made to social services had been rejected.
Meanwhile, police had been called out several times but either did not attend or “matters just dissipated,” Mr Ruffell told the judge.
The court also heard that the perpetrator had initially been bailed by police, and that social services had then wanted the suspect to return to the same home.
District Judge Pyle has made an order under section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, prohibiting publication of the names of those who have been the victims of the behaviour in the case and the fact a complainant continues to be a resident of the care home concerned.
The order also covers the name of the care home involved and the name of the defendant company.
The order states that the purpose of the order “is to ensure the protection provided with regards to the original prosecution for rape are preserved and supported”.
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