This contribution analyses the approach of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to means of restraint in residential psychiatric and disability care. Generally, the CPT states that means of restraint can only be applied in cases of acute danger, and if all alternatives have failed. Detailed and strict conditions apply, including for the duration (usually minutes rather than hours). However, an analysis of the CPT's country reports shows that sometimes longer-term use is implicitly accepted, first to preventively maintain order and safety in a care facility and second, to protectively safeguard the interests of the patient. Based on country reports and general human rights principles, this contribution tries to provide the clearest possible picture of the conditions for applying means of restraint and the required legal guarantees in these cases. Nevertheless, many loose ends remain. To safeguard the rights of patients, it is desirable that the CPT is more explicit concerning means of restraint when there is no acute danger.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This contribution is partly based on research funded by Flemish Government (Steunpunt Welzijn Volksgezondheid en Gezin , projects 3H190409 and 3M200005 ; www.steunpuntwvg.be ).
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