Wednesday, June 08, 2016

End the torture of "seclusion"

Yesterday we learned that Capital Coast DHB was torturing an autistic man, keeping him locked in a "seclusion unit" for five years. The scary thing is that its not an isolated case:

An unknown number of patients are held in long-term seclusion in New Zealand institutions.

Inspectors from the Ombudsman's Office, who monitor the issue, say they do not know the exact number, but there are more.


Documents show at least one other case exists at the same site - in a different mental health unit, Haumiatiketike - where an intellectually disabled man has been under a seclusion order for at least two years. The health board refused to elaborate on his case due to "privacy issues".

Over the past five years, inspectors have noted about five long-term seclusion cases in mental health facilities. But they say a "substantial number" of areas are not monitored, including community-based homes for the disabled, aged-care units and other compulsory care facilities.

The Ombudsman doesn't have the resources to monitor all the facilities which could be doign this, and oddly, they don't keep records so the number of people they're torturing in this way can't be counted. The scary thing is that they expect cases even worse than the one we know about.

Again, this is simply wrong, and it must end. People should not be tortured for any reason, and especially not because its the cheapest way of "managing" them. Those currently in seclusion need care and support, not torture.

As for those who are torturing them, I think the solution is clear: torture is illegal, and those fuckers should go to jail for their crimes.