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#1 Posted : 23 January 2001 09:14:00(UTC)
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Posted By Bob Thompson
I have been asked to advise on the implications of the human rights act with respect to restraint of young people in local authority care. Has any body done any work in this field suggestions please.

Thanks
Bob
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#2 Posted : 23 January 2001 11:19:00(UTC)
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Posted By Bryn Maidment
Same problem , different sector!

As far as I'm aware there is no drastic change in this area - certainly isn't in a hospital. You can restrain (providing the restrainers are trained, there are the correct number, they have the reason to restrain AND they only use enough force to restrain and not injure).

Reasons can be
a) They are a danger to themselves or others.
b) They lack mental capacity to understand that what they are doing leads to a) above.
c) They are committing a criminal offence.

This can be very difficult to assess and very much depends on somebody making a reasonable judgement in the prevailing circumstances. Comes back to training all staff in order that they have the skills to make a reasonable judgement.

Would be interested to hear any other views on this.

Hope this helps

ps my own personal view is that the HRA is a very much over-hyped money spinner in the same vein as CDM was a few years back. Dish out the pepper spray and chemical cosh!!

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#3 Posted : 23 January 2001 12:00:00(UTC)
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Posted By Tim Davies
Hi there,
I have been working in this field as a personal safety trainer with local authorities for some time and here are a few ideas.
Firstly I agree with first reply, the HRA is overhyped, unfortunately it is the very people you may be looking to restrain who will have the 'misinformation' and 'hype', that said the HRA reinforces everones rights and as yet makes no specific reference to restraint of young persons. However the European Court of Human Rights place particular wieght on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child. Secondly, have a look at Articles 2,3 and 5 with particular regard to the personal safety of not only the young people but also staff. Particular note should be made of the Acts reference to proportionality. Check out the site at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/hract/hramenu.htm
The bottom line will always be based around two elements in law, 'absolutely necessary' and 'proportionate'. A lot will depend on the methods and techniques used in restraint and where those techniques came from, be them mental health, prison service or whoever, and as such ensure that the system you operate meets the risk or need without creating additional risk to the young person and possible breach of the Act! Risk assessments carried out on your system of restraint should identify potential pitfalls, as will incident reporting/investigation and debriefing of all involved. From a practical point of view, there is often a gulf between generic restraint training and operational practice, again worthy of investigation.
I understand the Dept of Health and Royal College of Nursing have all issued guidance, be careful the guidance fits your needs.
Tim
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