Emergency debate over restrained boy

19th January 2011, Comments 2 comments


Labour MPs have called from an emergency debate over the plight of an 18-year-old mentally handicapped boy, who has been strapped to a wall for the last three years.

A film made by the boy's mother was shown on Dutch public television NOS yesterday evening. MPs are shocked by the conditions the boy is living in.

Brandon lives in a home for mentally handicapped in the south eastern town of Ermelo. He wears a harness which is attached to the wall by a strap. Staff only enter the room, which is not dissimilar to an isolation cell, if he is restrained. According to the boy's mother he has not been outside for three years.

The care home, s Heeren Loo, says there is no alternative; Brandon has "exceptionally complex problems, which require structural restraint." The inspectorate, which visited the boy on Tuesday, agrees with the home. "The problems of this client are so serious, that in spite of efforts by the home to limit restrictive measures as much as possible, he has to be limited in his freedom permanently for his own safety and the safety of others."

Platform VG, an association for the mentally handicapped and their families, wants the rules changed if it turns out that this kind of restraint is allowed.

In 1988, the Dutch public were shocked when photos emerged of Jolanda Venema, who was strapped naked to a brick wall at another care home. At the time, around 2000 mentally handicapped people were held in similar conditions. The case led to the setting up of a Centre for Consultation and Expertise CCE for the long-term care of difficult patients to avoid such methods being used. Ironically the centre is also involved in Brandon's case.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

2 Comments To This Article

  • Donna Williams posted:

    on 20th January 2011, 02:23:35 - Reply

    Donna Williams
    obviously, this is sick. However, what's needed is intervention to stop people like this man escalating to a state of such danger to himself and others that anyone would imagine this is the only safe way he can be approached. Ive worked w...ith over 1000 people with autism as an autism consultant since 1996, I've rarely met those such a persistent danger to themselves or others that anyone could imagine the use of such restraint as justifiable. I have, however, encountered a handful of people with autism and LD who were so exceptionally self injurious and/or violent that I was scared being there, that their parents and teachers and residential care workers were terrified of them. From these people I have seen heartbreaking and dangerous levels of chronic self injury, chronic rage and random attacking of both those familiar and those strange to them, murderous levels or rage including the use of furniture and sharp objects to come at those they feel rage at. Clearly these are people with combinations of severe PTSD, bipolar, and personality disorders in addition to their autism and LD. Our pathetic inability to face co-morbidity means carers throw useless one-size-fits-all 'autism' approaches at these people for things that aren't their 'autism' then when they fail they are overdrugged, isolated, restrained. It is time we looked broadly at humanising these people as mood disordered, personality disorders, traumatised, so they can begin to see themselves as human too.
  • stuart577 posted:

    on 19th January 2011, 19:19:33 - Reply

    What has happened to a benevolent and careing society. Are we living a 100 years ago with these outragous acts.