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Even if it is legally defensible, does that make it morally right? Children explore the use of physical restraint in custody

SHENTON, FELICITY,ANNE (2015) Even if it is legally defensible, does that make it morally right? Children explore the use of physical restraint in custody. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Custody for children is inherently unsafe, with evidence of harmful and unsafe care. Thirty three children have died in custody in England and Wales in the past decade. This study argues that the way children are treated once incarcerated reflects the way that children, childhood and child offenders are conceptualised, perceived and controlled. The routine use of physical restraint as a response to challenging behaviour has been called into question. It has been declared at the very least controversial, unsafe and in some cases unlawful. Taking a children’s human rights approach this piece of participatory research, explores the use of physical restraint across the secure estate in England, from the perspective of children themselves. Over one hundred children (11-18ys) took part, some as researchers themselves and others as participants. Spaces were created which encouraged the authentic and distinctive voice of children, which lies at the heart of the study. Their contemporaneous experience makes this research unique.
Evidence is provided which demonstrates that, although distressing and often painful, in most cases children consider its use to be inevitable and justifiable. These daily acts of violence inflicted on children were not considered unusual given children’s experiences of everyday violence within their families, communities and other institutions. Children are unaware of their right not to be subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment. The research suggests that the existence of a rights framework within the secure estate is negligible.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:children's human rights, physical restraint, participatory research
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 09:46

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