Staff reluctance to report clients to the police
Intended for healthcare professionals
Art & Science Previous     Next

Staff reluctance to report clients to the police

Joanne Delaney Learning disability community nurse, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Joanne Delaney discusses factors that influence care staff when they decide whether or not to report people with learning disabilities who may have committed offences

The reluctance of carers to report alleged offences by people with learning disabilities to the police is well documented in the literature, but there is a lack of detailed research into why this is so. The consequences of non-reporting for victims, offenders, staff and service providers, and the general public can be severe, so understanding the reasons why care staff are reluctant to report offences may improve the safety and quality of life of service users, staff and the general public. This article investigates factors that influence care staff when they decide whether or not to report alleged offenders with learning disabilities to the police. It shows that crimes committed against children, males with no learning disabilities and strangers are significantly more likely to be reported to the police than crimes against other service users and female staff. The strongest evidence for the reluctance of carers to report offences is fear of professional consequences and a lack of organisational policy on reporting. An important implication for practice is the implementation of reporting guidelines for all care staff to establish a consistent approach to the reporting of offences and alleged offences in line with the recommendations of the Department of Health (2000).

Learning Disability Practice. 18, 5, 22-29. doi: 10.7748/ldp.18.5.22.e1649


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism vsoftware

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 23 March 2015

Accepted: 15 April 2015

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now