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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34889
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have a brother in law who is a vulnerable adult 41 years

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I have a brother in law who is a vulnerable adult 41 years old, a few years ago he was moved from an institutionalised environment into a a purpose built facility that provided him with his own accommodation along with a number of other disabled and vulnerable adults, my brother in law has cerebral palsy and is disabled with learning difficulties. During his entire life he has been exposed to extreme measures of control by his parents who are now in their early 80s and live within 10 miles of him and he spends part of his week in his flat and the other three days ( Friday to Sunday ) at his parents.

About four months ago, he independently approached an Advocate who was with a client at a location he attends and he requested her assistance to help to make him more independent and to lessen the controls that his own parents have on him. His express wish was to be able to see my wife, myself and my family on a more regular basis ( he has been allowed to visit us once in 20 years when we lived 130 miles away) and maybe 3 times since we moved to live closer to him in the last three years.

After several months, the advocate was so concerned about him that she approached adult social care about the possibility of a safeguarding, no such award was granted. The reason ASC gave was that my BIL has capacity and therefore he is able to reason and argue with his parents to achieve his aims. I support that he has capacity, however, he is threatened and coerced constantly if he suggests seeing us, most recently, his father told him, "if you want to see them, then thats your choice, but you wont ever be back here to see me and your mum". Despicable and irrational behaviour and my BIL also told this to his advocate and his social worker, again, no action taken, but the desire to control him via his parents has simply increased further.

In order to attempt to move things forward a meeting was called by my BIL and supported by his advocate and social worker, he clearly said to all in the room, this included his parents and a further sister who also supports the parents control of my BIL, myself and my wife, that he wanted to see us once every four weeks, being picked up by us on a Friday evening and returned on a Monday morning, this was agreed by all in the room and ASC said that they would formalise this in a letter and we would all meet to review things in three months time. In true fashion ASC failed to send any letter and since then his parents have mobilised themselves still further, all week they have been at his flat and intercepted all calls to him, this resulted in my BIL calling my wife, his advocate and his social worker and clearly being coached by both parents said that he had changed his mind and that he didnt think he needed an advocate anymore.

Further to this, his parents are looking to attempt to gain Power of Attorney or Guardianship and to give themselves even more control over him.

Over his entire life, until the last two years he had only ever spent one overnight with us and one with his other sister who lives within 500 yards of the parents, he has never stayed over with his other brother or any other family friend.

Yesterday his advocate again approached ASC for a safeguarding but this time they even refused to consider this. We have never requested any safeguarding, just for ASC to speak with his parents in order to inform them of their obligations to their son and to put an end to the threats and bullying, thus far ASC have not had any independent dialogue with the parents.

Everyone who spends time with my BIL have all expressed concern for his mental health in recent weeks and the lady who manages the residential care unit that he resides in recently told my wife " your brother is the least disabled of the residents here, but due to your parents, he is without doubt the most disabled".

Endless evidence has been presented to ASC from numerous professionals but they remain steadfast that my BIL has capacity and even under extreme threat he has the power to make a decision. Clearly we disagree and when his father is telling him " if you go and see them, you will be making your mother ill" .

I have just written to the senior social worker formalising my complaint about their handling of the whole case and it is my intention to escalate to the Director of Social Work for the region if I get no result.

What concerns me is the pace that his elderly parents are working at to isolate him further and the increased risk to him as an individual to live a life free to make his own choices and without the fear of threat or coercion. My wife and I feel that maybe we need some legal advice now so we can determine how best to proceed and in the best interest of her brother.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Have you considered simply collecting him and bringing him to your house for a visit?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Your response worries me as it indicates that you havent grasped the situation that exists. You mean kidnap him before his parents collect him ?? We want to reduce his stress and anxiety, not increase it.

I certainly did not mean that you kidnap him.
I mean have you considered agreeing with him that he will visit you and then collecting him at the agreed time without discussing it with his parents
As Social care have said - he is apparently competent and able to make that decision without any interference so he cannot be prevented from doing this.
It may be that once he has done it once he will feel more able to insist in the future
If he has sufficient mental capacity to sign a Power of Attorney then he can appoint whomsoever he wishes.
If he does not then you can challenge any application for Guardianship that is made
The most appropriate ground on which to challenge it would be the age of his parents which makes it unlikely that they will be able to deal with matters on a long term basis
Alternatively you can apply for Guardianship yourselves
I appreciate that this is not the most practical of ways forward but sadly the options are limited.
he has already done everything correctly by finding an Advocate and he has said that he wants to visit you.
the next step is to go ahead with the visit and then assess the outcome
Please ask if you need further details
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