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Shock Treatment Ban Sought

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Shock Treatment Ban Sought

The New Zealand branch of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights is calling for a ban on Electro Convulsive Therapy for children in this country following a proposal to ban it in Western Australia.

The Western Australian government are looking at banning the use of electroshock on children under the age of 16 years after documents revealed that children as young as 11 were being given the controversial treatment.

WA Mental Health Minister, Dr Graham Jacobs believed the treatment should not be given to children under 16, raising the proposed level from under 12 years after receiving documents from the Commission.

Figures procured by CCHR, an NGO set up by the Church of Scientology and a professor of psychiatry, revealed "less than five" children were given ECT aged between 11-15 with similar numbers in 16-17 year olds.

Although health authorities in New Zealand say shock treatment should still be used in mental health, prominent studies have revealed it causes long term damage.

"A Parliamentary Heath Select Committee looked at submissions to ban ECT on children, pregnant woman and the elderly in 2007 but did not. This needs to be looked at once again in light of what is happening in Western Australia," Commission director, Mr Steve Green said.

Electro-shock has also been widely criticised when used as punishment, especially at Lake Alice Hospital, when the Citizens Commission revealed serious allegations that are now part of a criminal investigation. Over 200 child-victims have been officially apologised and paid compensation for what was tantamount to torture in the psychiatric adolescent unit in the 1970s.

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