sexually harassed on adult psychiatric wards, report states
January 31, 2007
by Angela Hussain
are being sexually harassed on adult psychiatric wards, according
to a report by the children’s commissioner for England.
Research commissioned by the commissioner,
Professor Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, tracked 16 young people in England
and Wales who had been admitted to adult psychiatric wards in the
last 18 months.
It found many of the under 18-year-olds
felt unsafe during their time on adult psychiatric wards.
Some were verbally, physically or
sexually harassed from other patients, researchers reported this
Other said they were able to take
illicit drugs and alcohol.
Staff on the wards lacked experience
or training in working with young people and many were not police-checked,
said the report, entitled Pushed Into The Shadows.
The report blamed a continuing
shortage of hospital beds and services for under 18-year-olds.
The government’s National Mental Health Framework says children
with mental health problems should only be put in adult wards in
exceptional cases. Ministers say the use of adult wards for children
will be eliminated within five years.
Sir Aynsley-Green makes a number of recommendations, including that
there be an increase in emergency beds in children and adolescent
mental health services, and that staff in adult wards undergo Criminal
Records Bureau checks and be trained in working with young people.
Barbara Herts, chief executive of the YoungMinds charity which conducted
the research, said: “I hope this report is the spur to ensure
that the most vulnerable members of our society are both protected
and supported in order that they can achieve their full health and
Into The Shadows (pdf)
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