Sterilisation and Electroshock Therapy on Our Kids is OK in WA!

I’ll begin with a simple question. Do you think that it is OK for a state government to perform electroshock therapy and sterilisation on children without parental consent? If you think this is fine, then no need to read any further.

For the rest of us you should be suitably horrified to know that the current Mental Health Act proposed changes that are due to go before parliment allow children to consent to sterilisation and 12 year olds to consent to psychosurgery and electroshock therapy all without parental consent.

This is an urgent plea for protest against these changes for  that all parents in Western Australia need to act on immediately. We only have until the 9th of March to avert these changes to uphold the parental rights and protect Western Australia’s children.

Of particular concern are the following proposals.

CHILDREN OF ANY AGE TO CONSENT TO STERILISATION: If a psychiatrist decides that a child (under 18 years) has sufficient maturity, they will be able to consent to sterilisation. Parental consent will not be needed. Only after the sterilisation procedure has been performed does it have to be reported and then only to the Chief Psychiatrist. [Pages: 135 & 136 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]

12 YEAR OLDS WILL BE ABLE TO CONSENT TO PSYCHOSURGERY: Banned in N.S.W. and the NT., psychosurgery is the cutting of the brain or inserting electrodes into the brain. This draft bill proposes to allow a 12 year old child, if considered to be sufficiently mature by a psychiatrist, to be able to consent to psychosurgery. Once the child has consented it goes before the Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) for approval. Parental consent is also not needed for the MHT to approve the psychosurgery. [Pages: 108, 109, 110, 197, 198, 199, 213 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]

12 YEAR OLDS WILL BE ABLE TO CONSENT TO ELECTROSHOCK (ECT):Electroshock is the application of electricity to the head. Any child aged 12 and over, whom a psychiatrist decides is mature enough, will be able to consent to electroshock. Also, once consent is given by the child and the psychiatrist, there is no requirement for parents or anyone, else including the MHT to approve the electroshock. Electroshock should be completely banned. Its use on the elderly, pregnant women and children is especially destructive. [Pages: 100, 101, 103, 104, 194, 105 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]

RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION OF CHILDREN: Children can be restrained in a psychiatric institution, with the use of mechanical restraint (manacles, belts, straps etc.) and bodily force. Chemical restraint – the use of psychiatric drugs to subdue and control the person is not covered in the draft bill, so there are no legal safeguards to prevent its application. Death can result from all forms of restraint. [Pages: 122, 121, 113, 246 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]

INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT OF CHILDREN: A psychiatrist can involuntarily detain any child for up to 14 days if “suspected” of mental illness. Parents will not be able to discharge their child and take them home. The psychiatrist can then make a “continuation order” to continue the detainment for up to 3 months and continue to make these orders after each 3 month period. During detainment the child could be drugged, restrained, secluded, given electroshock if over 12 years and could be put into a ward with adults. Parental consent is not required to continue the detainment or for any treatment, including the child being placed on a legal order to continue to receive drugs at home. The MHT hold hearings on the detainment of a child, but there is no guarantee the child will be able to go home. In 2010/11 there were 1,248 hearings for all ages and only 58 people had their status changed from involuntary to voluntary. [Pages: 21, 22, 35, 19, 107, 36, 53, 54, 183 -185, 190, 191, 213, 214.18, 46, 47, 48, 65, 66, 70, 73, 75-77 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]

WHO WILL BE ABLE TO DETAIN A CHILD IS NOT FULLY KNOWN: An “authorised mental health practitioner” can also detain a child or adult in the draft bill. Exactly who an authorised mental health practitioner is, is not defined by the draft bill. The Chief Psychiatrist can literally give anyone or any profession the power to detain someone just because he considers they are qualified and by publishing the decision in the Gazette. This clause must be removed from the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011. Only a judge or magistrate should have the power to detain someone. [Pages: 246, 247, 21, 22 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]

The draft bill can be viewed on the W.A. Mental Health Commission websitehttp://www.mentalhealth. wa.gov.au under “Mental Health Changes” and then “Mental Health Legislation”.

Please write / fax or call your local member of parliment and also send your objections to the Minister of Mental Health and the Minister of Health. Details for both are below:

Honourable Helen Morton MLC
7th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
WEST PERTH WA 6005

Honourable Dr Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA
28th Floor, Governor Stirling Tower
197 St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6000

To make your lif easier here is a form letter in Word format that you can adapt.

Mental Health Act Reforms Objection Form Letter

I also received this form letter as an alternative from Roy care of the Perth Truth Seekers meetup group that you could also use.

WA Health Bill Letter to Minister 1

The bill itself also contains many other areas of concern. I recieved this document (linked below) today that gives an in-depth analysis of the bill and its ramifications. Please read it.

What the Mental Health Bill really means

Note that the wording at the start of the letter expressing your will is very important (more information about this is available in the PDF titled Your Will Be Done by a former Queensland MP which is available herehttp://www.saveoz.org/documents/pdf/YourWillBeDone.pdf).

You can also send an email expressing your objections tocontactus@mentalhealth.wa.gov.au.

Remember that evil triumphs when good people stand by and do nothing.

You can reference the original article and their references that this post is extracted from at http://www.cchr.org.au/component/content/article/35-front-page-news/222-children-consent-to-sterilisation. Please take action now.

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