About the campaign
Steve changed the law to protect mental health patients from violent and abusive restraint. It came about after the death of Seni Lewis, 21, a physically healthy black graduate from Croydon who died in a mental health hospital after 11 police officers took him into a seclusion unit withhis hands and legs in shackles and pinned him face-down on the floor until he suffered a heart attack, went into a coma and died.
The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018, also known as Seni’s Law, is the first major new Act of Parliament in 22 years brought in by a Labour MP in opposition, and the biggest mental health reform in over a decade. Steve’s new law introduced a standardised national system for recording the use of restraint against patients to allow greater public scrutiny, requires police to wear body cameras when carrying out restraint, and requires hospitals to reduce the use of restraint including proper training for staff.
Steve has continued to campaign for mental health patients following his success with Seni’s Law. He pushed the Government to introduce guidelines on the restraint of children with learning disabilities after ministers delayed publication for five years.
Steve has long been a champion for people with mental ill health. In 2012 he successfully secured a new site for the Livity special needs school in Streatham, and as a teenager he volunteered in a school for children with learning disabilities.