Longcare Survivors: The Biography of a Care Scandal is John Pring’s new book investigating the horrific abuse of adults with learning difficulties that took place at two residential homes in south Buckinghamshire.
In the autumn of 1994, a leaked council report revealed that scores of people with learning difficulties had been beaten, neglected, drugged and raped at the homes in Buckinghamshire.
Now, 17 years on, the reporter who helped expose the scandal can, for the first time, tell the full, terrible truth about what happened at the Longcare homes.
Pring also describes the appalling impact of the Longcare regime on those who survived the abuse, and investigates the ingrained discrimination in society – and in our care and justice systems – that is still exposing people with learning difficulties to shocking levels of injustice, hostility and violent crime.
Longcare Survivors is the story of one journalist’s 17-year journey into the disturbing heart of our care system.
It is the follow-up to Pring’s first book on the Longcare scandal, Silent Victims, which was published in 2003 by Gibson Square Books and is now out of print.
Longcare Survivors was published on 3 June, with a foreword by shadow equalities minister Fiona Mactaggart MP. It is priced £12.50 (plus £3.25 postage and packing).
If you would like to order a copy for overseas delivery, or for further details about the book, please email John Pring at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8446 5900 or 07776 206595
‘A kind of justice will be done if this book finds its way onto the reading list for every health and social care course, in every class, college and university.’ – Debbe Caulfield, Disability Arts Online
‘*****’ (five stars) - Community Care magazine
‘Longcare Survivors is a testament to the dedication and tenacity of the author – journalist John Pring – who has spent 17 years investigating the case. It also stands as a testament to the courage and forbearance of the survivors themselves, whose voices feature prominently in this brilliant book.
‘Their abuser, Gordon Rowe, a former mental health nurse turned charismatic conman, was able to establish three residential care homes, where for years he was able to rape, beat and sadistically humiliate countless people with learning disabilities with impunity.
‘As with the recent Winterbourne View case (a residential ‘care’ home in Bristol) the abuse only came to light thanks to the actions of a whistleblower. In the case of Longcare an anonymous person leaked a report by Buckinghamshire County Council to the Slough Observer.
‘One of the most inspiring and important aspects of this book is the way the author challenges the perception of people with learning disabilities as passive victims. He reminds us that “in many and varied ways, they resisted [Gordon Rowe's] cruelty, they found ways to survive”.
Nevertheless, the effects of abuse can be long-lasting and, as Jim Mansell wrote in The Guardian in the wake of Winterbourne View, for people with learning disabilities “there is no quick fix”. For many of the Longcare survivors, the memories and effects of abuse remain raw, present and close to the surface.
‘But we can at least take some comfort from Dorothy Thomson, the true heroine of this story. “As soon as you get in an institution, you learn to hate and you have a dream to hold onto and my dream was that one day I would have a flat of my own and I would never marry a body-abled man. That dream has come true, because that is the main thing you have to hang onto to get through these traumas.”‘
Review by Louise Wallis, campaigns officer for Respond. Reproduced by kind permission of Community Living magazine