A teen with autism is locked in solitary confinement and being fed through a hatch. Have we really moved on from Bedlam? (UK)

“Beth has autism, suffers extreme anxiety and cannot cope with stress – yet instead of being helped to enjoy life she is shut away”


The heading and quote above and the following extracts are from an article by Ian Birrell in the i newspaper on 7th October:

“She is obese from inactivity and has diabetes. Her small cell is furnished with just a foam bed and chair. Sometimes she gets books or colouring materials. Other times, a television is wheeled outside the big glass window. Her father finds visiting his daughter “horrific” as he walks into the seclusion area and sees a row of rooms, often full of distressed young women…

“You might assume Beth has carried out some terrible deed to be locked up like this for the past 21 months. Even her father must kneel to speak with his daughter through the metal door’s hatch. But she has committed no crime. Instead, she is a victim of a callous state that treats a slice of society with cruelty and contempt. For this teenage girl has learning disabilities. And like scores of others, she has been left to rot by an inadequate health service while politicians break promises to help, and bureaucrats bicker over funding people in dire need…”

Peter Limbrick writes: Bethany’s father, in Walsall in the West Midlands, is trying to raise awareness of what is happening to Bethany. When I read this news article, I tried to find out more using phone and e-mails.  I sent an e-mail to the Mayor of Walsall. His response included:

"Thank you very much for your email in which you expressed concern for a child. I have taken these concerns very seriously and have sought further information about the circumstances of this child. .. I have raised your concerns with Children’s Services and can assure you that all appropriate action is being taken."

I take this to mean that Mayor Marco Longhi will now be doing what he can to get Bethany’s immediate and future situation improved. Should you want to send him words of support and encouragement, you can do so here: https://go.walsall.gov.uk/about_the_council/mayor_of_walsall

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