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Human rights in learning disability inpatient units examined

10 December 2018

The Joint Committee on Human Rights hears from people with learning disabilities who have been detained, and from family members of people with autism who have been detained.

The purpose

The purpose of the session is to hear about:

  • The experiences of those with learning disabilities and/or autism of inpatient settings, and the views of families
  • Their views on restraint and/or isolation in these settings
  • How they think the human rights of those with learning disabilities and/or autism can be better protected.


Wednesday 12 December, Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster.

Panel 1

At 3.35pm

  • Paul Scarrott and Pam Bebbington, My Life My Choice
  • Pam Bebbington and Paul Scarrott both work with the charity My Life, My Choices, as a self advocacy organisation that seeks to “raise the self-esteem, confidence and quality of life for people with learning disabilities by providing training, employment, volunteering and social opportunities for our members.”

Panel 2

4.15 pm

  • Julie Newcombe and Jeremy, parents of young people with autism
    Julie Newcombe is a parent campaigner who co-founded the Rightful Lives exhibition to promote the human rights of people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Her 23 year old son spent 19 months in several inpatient settings.

Jeremy is the father of Bethany, who is kept in isolation and whose treatment has been extensively covered by the media.

Regulation is not enough

Committee Chair Harriet Harman said:

“We are shining a spotlight on the human rights of individuals who are being shut away and made invisible. Regulation is not enough.

The only way to stop abuses is to guarantee the full rights of these children, adults and their families.

We have seen welcome changes towards children on issues such as corporal punishment and learning how to listen to their concerns. Now we need a similar fundamental reassessment of how we are treating people with autism and learning disabilities.”

Further information

Image: iStockphoto