The detention of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) have published some recommendations about the detention of young people (including young adults) who are autistic and/or have learning disabilities.
On 19 March 2020 the committee announced an inquiry into the implications for human rights of the Government’s Covid-19 response. As part of this inquiry they took evidence on 18 May from parents of young people who are autistic or have a learning disability and are currently detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.
In November 2019, the JCHR, published a report on the detention of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) and other mental health hospitals (the “2019 report”). This report concluded that in many cases these young people’s human rights are being abused; they are detained unlawfully, contrary to their right to liberty, subjected to solitary confinement, more prone to self-harm and abuse and deprived of the right to family life. The report called for an overhaul of inspections and changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) to protect those detained from breaches of their human rights. It also recommended a Number 10 unit with Cabinet level leadership to urgently drive forward reform. The Government’s response to the report was expected in February but has been delayed due to the pandemic.
Also of interest is this article which explores isolation of patients in psychiatric hospitals in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to read: Isolation of patients in psychiatric hospitals in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: An ethical, legal, and practical challenge.