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Restraint Guide

Restraint of people who may lack 'mental capacity' is covered in a booklet offering guidance on a new law.

A booklet provides 'introductory information' on the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The guidance says: "Sometimes it is necessary to physically restrain a person. The [Mental Capacity 2005] Act allows physical restraint, but only if it is necessary to prevent the person coming to harm. For example, a carer may prevent you from stepping out into the middle of a busy road, if you lack capacity to understand the danger posed by traffic.

"However, any restraint has to be reasonable and in proportion to the potential harm. A carer might prevent you from going out alone because you cannot ross roads safely, but it would be unreasonable for them to completely stop you from going outdoors to protect you from road traffic. If a person uses excessive restraint they could be liable to a range of civil and criminal penalties."

And it adds: "There is a new criminal offence of ill-treating or wilfully neglecting a person who lacks capacity. This covers restraining someone unreasonably against their will and also the more commonly understood types of abuse such as financial, sexual, physical and psychological abuse."

You can download the guide via the Ministry of Justice website:



Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.

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