Steve demands action on child restraint
Children with learning disabilities are more likely than adults to be pinned down on the floor or injected with chemicals. The Government promised to issue guidelines to stop this abuse of vulnerable children – but five years later they have still failed to act.
Steve Reed MP today called on the Government to stop dithering. Steve recently bought in an Act of Parliament, Seni’s Law, that protects patients in mental health hospitals from violent restraint, but he wants to see those protections extended to children and others with mental ill health outside hospitals.
Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons, Steve said:
It’s shocking that children under the age of twenty are four times more likely than adults to be restrained face-down, three times more likely to be tranquilised and twice as likely to be put in handcuffs or leg braces. Half of all girls with mental ill health have experienced some form of abuse, either physical or sexual, that affected their mental health. Last year alone, over 2500 children were subjected to life-threatening face-down restraint. The same type of restraint that led to Seni Lewis’ death.
The current system is failing Britain’s most vulnerable children, and yet the Government refuses to act. Instead of being a safe place for vulnerable children, too many children with learning disabilities and other forms of mental ill health are being subject to violence that makes their conditions worse. I’m campaigning to make sure the important principles enshrined in Seni’s law are extended to protect every child who experiences mental ill health.
Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.
Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.