Who among us, when in a social setting has not been asked for free advice in the areas of our expertise? The question put to me was, what can you do about a child who is hurting themselves? Another person there said you cannot force a teenager (which may be the demographic within which this problem often happens) into therapy without their consent.
The answer to this interesting question is that part 6 of the Child and Family Services Act comes to your rescue. You may not like the details of the answer. Yes, a parent can apply to the court to have their child “committed to a secure treatment. But here are some of the problems. You have to apply to a court. The treatment centre administrator must consent in writing. This I presume means there is room at the centre. It has to have a treatment program and that program has to be effective to treat the particular child.
Since admission is only by way of a court order this brings one to the next area of complexity. The court must be persuaded by trustworthy evidence, the child needs to have legal representation, the court has to have a hearing and oral evidence may be called. The child has a right to be present. The court may order an assessment. It also wants evidence of mental disorder. This likely involves a medical report. The child has to have caused or attempted serious bodily harm within the last 45 days. The court wants to know there is no other less restrictive form of treatment that would be effective.
There are other sections of the act that are relevant. When you think about these requirements you will ask all sorts of other questions. One practical issue is the cost of such an application to court and how the average family could afford this procedure. This clearly is something you do for very serious cases, when voluntary consensual solutions are not possible. There is a moral to the story. It is that we as parents need to protect our children better. There is much, much more to learn for everyone of us about this question.
At Simmons da Silva LLP we have a highly-skilled group of professionals who have the necessary expertise and are committed to offering solutions in separation and divorce cases. Our lawyers are committed to utilizing collaborative law where appropriate in order to reduce the emotional and financial costs that result from separation or divorce. Please contact Noel da Silva or Justin Clark at our office to discuss how we can assist you in resolving your family law matter.
Noel da Silva is a Partner at Simmons da Silva LLP
Disclaimer: This article is only intended for information purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal advice.