Seni’s Law is a new law, introduced by Steve Reed MP, to end the use of excessive force against mental health patients, an issue that has led to a number of deaths. The Labour MP for Croydon North introduced Seni’s Law in the House of Commons in July 2017, it passed into legislation on 1st November 2018.
The new bill, officially known as the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill, will require hospitals to publish data on how and when physical force is used, and improve oversight and training so staff are aware of the risks of unconscious bias against minority groups such as young black men with mental ill health.
According to the charity INQUEST, there have been over 1500 deaths in custody since 1990. Many suffered from mental ill health, with a disproportionate number of those who die in custody from black and minority ethnic communities.
Steve Reed MP worked closely with the Lewis family to secure justice for their son. It took seven years of campaigning until a Coroner’s verdict in May this year officially recognised that severe failings by the police and mental health services had led to Seni’s death.
Steve Reed MP said:
“Seni Lewis was a young man from Thornton Heath with his whole life ahead of him. But he died after his parents took him to hospital for help when he showed signs of mental ill health. Instead of receiving the care and understanding he needed, he was subject to severe physical restraint by 11 police officers until he stopped breathing. I want Parliament to pass Seni’s Law to make sure the serious mistakes that led to Seni’s death can never happen to anyone else.”
- Watch a video of Steve Reed MP explaining Seni’s Law
- Understand more about Seni’s law
- View the progress of Seni’s Law through the Houses of Parliament here
"Seni’s law is a testament to the commitment of Seni’s family, who have fought tirelessly for years"
— Rethink Mental Illness (@Rethink_) November 2, 2018
Here’s the first printed copy of Seni’s Law – so proud of everyone who helped give mental health patients in our country the best protection in the world against abusive restraint – thank you! #MakingChangeHappen pic.twitter.com/UCtxgNZDTt
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedMP) November 13, 2018