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Wales becomes first UK nation to ban the use of handcuffs on children in care

26 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Phot by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Wales has become the first UK nation to take steps to protect children in care from being handcuffed or restrained when being transported between care settings.

The Welsh Government’s new Reducing Restrictive Practices Framework (RRPF) has been created to tackle the use of restraints such as handcuffs, leg ties and physical force and stipulates that when secure transport services are commissioned by local authorities in Wales, the requirement to operate in line with the Framework must be included in the terms of the contract.

There is also a requirement that the transport provider must report any use of restrictive practices, during the transport of an individual.

A recent survey by the Independent Children’s Homes Association found that 25% of transportation providers hired by local authorities to move care experienced children and young people, reported the use of restraint while in their care.

“Not appropriate”

The new RRPF includes a specific section for such secure transportation, stating that ‘Welsh Ministers are clear that it is not appropriate to use handcuffs of any kind during such journeys’.

It also insists that “Senior leaders should have knowledge of the range and extent of restrictive practices that are used within the organisation. There should be a system for collecting this information across the whole organisation and for each setting.”

Campaign group Hope instead of Handcuffs has been calling for an end to the handcuffing, restraining or caging of children, except when there is considerable risk of harm to themselves or others and is urging other UK governments to introduce similar frameworks.

Emily Aklan, a children’s rights campaigner, and leader of the ‘Hope Instead of Handcuffs’ campaign, said:  “We are delighted that the Welsh Government has acknowledged the importance of tackling the issue of restraint. Year on year we have seen an increase in untrained, unregulated private transportation companies pop up and transporting the most vulnerable young people.

“With an utter lack of transparency, children who are already traumatised are subjected to the anguish of being treated like criminals, simply because they’re in the care system.

“I’m thrilled that Welsh politicians are recognising that children in care need to be protected. I sincerely hope other nations follow Wales’ example and we are able to finally put a stop to restraint in the transportation of young people.”

Important

Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services, said: “The changes we have made to the Reducing Restrictive Practices Framework are a hugely important step forward in our aim to reduce restrictive practices across all settings and ensure that they are only used as a very last resort and certainly never as a matter of routine.

“By encouraging responsible procurement and strengthening the guidance around data collection and reporting, the changes we have made to the Framework will help us to better promote and protect the physical and mental wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people in Wales.”

Baroness Wilcox of Newport, Shadow Front Bench Spokesperson for Wales, added: “Wales has long been a leader in the protection of children’s rights, and this new Framework is a leading piece of policy to address an issue which has been swept under the rug for far too long.

“As we clarified with the smacking ban which came in this year, physical interventions have absolutely no place on children. I hope that this becomes a legal requirement in Wales, and that other nations follow our example in giving children the same rights as adults.”


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Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago

People were using HANDCUFFS on kids in care?!
What is this? The damned Victorian era? Forcible restraint and punishment for troubled kids, akin to that handed out to violent criminals is a stain on humanity.
Get it on the statute books in Cymru quick, though Mr Drakeford, Unionist lackey! Cruella Braverman is in charge of this stuff again and she’s only SLIGHTLY less vicious than Priti Evil

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