The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s National Preventive Mechanism visited the Stavanger Health Trust Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care Services during the periods 8-10 October and 29-30 October 2019. We visited the department’s inpatient ward for children and two inpatient wards for adolescents. The department was not notified of the dates in advance.
The Mental Health Act includes few regulations for children who have been deprived of their liberty. The hospitalisation of children under the age of 16 is not considered coercion as long as the parents or guardians provide consent. This applies regardless of whether it occurs against the wishes of the child. The fundamental rights listed in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child have not been incorporated in this act. Regulations regarding the use of coercive measures against children and adolescents do not adequately address their vulnerable situation. Nevertheless, all hospitals have an obligation to ensure that children’s human rights are respected, even if these rights are not specifically stated in the Mental Health Act.