To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the defence of reasonable chastisement and punishment is available to (a) nurses and (b) other staff acting in loco parentis in (i) mental health inpatient units and (ii) other health settings charged with the assault of a child in their care.
4 May 2018
The government is clear that physical punishment should not be used by staff in these settings.
While there is no specific legislation that prevents staff in these settings seeking to use that defence, the court would need to consider whether they were acting in loco parentis and whether the chastisement was reasonable.
The Mental Health Code of Practice states that restrictive interventions by healthcare staff should not be used to punish. The Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education will shortly publish guidance for healthcare staff on reducing the need for restrictive interventions on children and young people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs.