Autistic man prosecuted for assault on care worker: focus on training

May 14, 2015

The News and Star is reporting on a case where George Robert Ostle, 22, who now lives with his parents at Gosforth, attacked the worker while he was a resident at the Leonard Cheshire home in Old London Road, Penrith.

The trouble began on October 14 last year as a female care worker was giving medication to Ostle, who also suffers epilepsy, diabetes and other health problems.

He objected because he feared that he was being given the wrong medicine and he became angry.  The worker left the room but returned, speaking calmly to the defendant and explaining that the medication was new.

But Ostle became agitated, and then hit the woman five times on the back and shoulder. He then got off the sofa he was sitting on.  At this point, the court heard, the care worker and a male colleague, who was also nearby, left the room.   As they did so, Ostle threw a mug of tea in their direction.

The care provider’s representative said:

“Our staff member had received specialist skills training to match the particular needs of the individual resident over a year before the incident took place. Both staff members present during the incident followed all correct procedures.”


At Dynamis, we are constantly asking whether the “specialist skills training” provided to staff to verbally manage conflict, to protect themselves and to physically intervene when necessary actually have end-user utility.

This means that we are concerned about WHAT the staff are taught and whether the skills and tactics are relevant and effective, but increasingly we are now asking whether HOW those skills are taught are ensuring that the skills are really assimilated and retained.

In the future we are planning with our industry partners to bring information to light which will begin a step-change in the training of staff in the UK.  The results we would hope to achieve with this would be, for example:

– fewer incidents which escalate to this level of violence unnecessarily

– more skilled staff who deploy the right tactics to bring an end to incidents without injury or with reduced risk of injury

– more confidence for care services that the training they ARE providing is ACTUALLY working to reduce their risk and number of such incidents


Gerard Safe Caring

Gerard O’Dea is a conflict management, personal safety and physical interventions training consultant.  He is the training director for Dynamis, a specialist provider of personal safety and violence management programmes and the European Adviser for ‘Verbal Defense and Influence’, a global programme which addresses the spectrum of human conflict.

Related Posts

How to NOT end up on Panorama – decision making as culture.

How to NOT end up on Panorama – decision making as culture.

Our Trainer programme for a Children’s Hospital

Our Trainer programme for a Children’s Hospital

Conflict in the Emergency Department: Communicating across cultures

Conflict in the Emergency Department: Communicating across cultures

Care Worker Stabbed at regular scheduled visit – Comments

Care Worker Stabbed at regular scheduled visit – Comments


Gerard O'Dea is the Director of Training for Dynamis. Training Advisor, Speaker, Author and Expert Witness on Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Physical Interventions, he is the European Advisor for Vistelar Conflict Management, a global programme focussing on the spectrum of human conflict.

Gerard O'Dea

  1. Very justified concerns Ger, lots of training out there which finishes with no guarantee that staff are competent or that the training itself is fit for purpose – just another box ticked.

    Then when it all goes wrong everyone gets blamed except the people responsible for planning the service.

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}