Article 16 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities includes the right to be free from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse. In pursuance of this aim, Article 16 (3) imposes an obligation on States Parties to ‘ensure that all facilities and programmes designed to serve persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities’. Effective independent monitoring is viewed as a key mechanism to help safeguard people from violence, exploitation and abuse. This is highly pertinent in the wake of the highly publicized abuse of patients in care homes and hospitals in England in the last few years. This article examines the monitoring requirements of Article 16 and, by drawing on the author's research into the Care Quality Commission (the national health and social care regulator and mental health monitor) in England, assesses the extent to which independent inspection of hospitals and care homes can play a part in realizing Article 16(3) to prevent violence, abuse and exploitation of persons with mental disabilities. The potential scope and reach of Article 16 is extremely wide: this brings with it great potential but, at the same time, significant challenges for achieving effecting monitoring. Some of these challenges are explored and the paper concludes with some consideration of how monitors/inspectors, such as the Care Quality Commission in England, can strengthen their protection for people with mental disabilities, in line with the ethos and aspirations of the CRPD.
- LAW Centre for Health Law and Society
- Mental disability
- Independent monitoring