Capacity does not reside in me
DOI link for Capacity does not reside in me
Capacity does not reside in me book
This chapter is written from the perspective of someone who has been subject to compulsory treatment under mental health legislation, investigating the ethical situation of people subject to the Mental Health Act Victoria 2014 (MHA). Focusing on treatment, the two main ethical principles the MHA infringes are autonomy, because the person cannot refuse treatment, and bodily integrity, through the administering of treatment to the body without consent. The chapter explores how paternalism interacts with capacity to consent to treatment (‘mental capacity’) to limit people’s decision-making, examining the State’s role in overriding people’s autonomy and bodily integrity, concluding that the MHA places people in ethical peril. The view is put forward that the ethical wrongs of compulsory treatment may give rise to serious, multiple and ongoing negative consequences, and they are a matter for regret, regardless of justifications. The chapter argues that the MHA has not incorporated the intent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with its focus on the provision of support in order to retain decision-making authority (‘legal capacity’). To do better and ameliorate negative ethical and real-world consequences, these wrongs must first be acknowledged and regretted.