This project aimed to identify poor practices which people with learning disabilities commonly experience in residential care or supported living settings.


  • People with learning disabilities and family carers identified a range of poor practices which occur frequently in many residential care and supported living services. Most of the practices they identified were not clear-cut cases of abuse, but were poor practices which had a negative effect on their residents’ daily lives
  • Frontline care and support staff found it hard to define ‘abuse’ and tended define it in concrete terms (e.g. abuse is hitting or kicking someone)
  • Staff found it even harder to define ‘poor practice’
  • When presented with a range of real-life practice-based scenarios, frontline staff did not agree about what was acceptable practice, poor practice or abuse
  • Staff expressed confidence in their ability and willingness to report abuse, but this was belied by their lack of clarity regarding what constituted abuse
  • Staff said that they found it difficult to challenge colleagues’ poor practice. They were anxious that raising concerns about poor practice would lead to repercussions within the staff team.