Sage has made a submission on the Deprivation of Liberty: Safeguard Proposals consultation with the Department of Health.
Everyone has the right to liberty, this means that a person cannot have their liberty taken away unless it is in accordance with law. This week the Government passed a motion to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In order to give full effect to this convention, Ireland is required to have legislation which will safeguard a person’s rights, and ensure any deprivation of liberty is in accordance with law, and is monitored and regulated.
New legislation to safeguard people’s liberty will be part of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. It will have implications for people who are currently living in a residential care setting, and for people deciding to move into a care setting in the future. A person should be presumed to have capacity and be supported to make decisions that affect their lives, including the decision to reside in a care setting. If a person is considered not to have capacity to make the decision for themselves, any decision made on their behalf should follow the person’s will and preferences and the person should be facilitated to be part of the decision-making process. These principles and obligations are part of the ADM (Capacity) Act 2015.
In our submission Sage has called for access to an independent advocate to ensure the person’s voice, will and preference are taken into account in any decisions which affects the person, including where a person will live. We have stated that any process to safeguard a person’s liberty should apply to all people equally. We have highlighted that vulnerable people may be residing against their wishes in a care setting due to a lack of a statutory right to homecare, lack of flexible models of care to meet individual’s needs, and lack of adequate homecare service provision.
Any measures to safeguard a person’s right to liberty should be focussed on human rights principles and norms. Safeguards and related processes should be from the perspective of how the person will benefit, and how their rights and quality of life will be enhanced as they experience them.