ICARS Lived Experience Case Studies Are A Critical Element In Reformation Efforts

a young girl sits in front of a privacy window that obscures what's on the other side. Image reads: the lived experience of restraint and seclusion. from icars

The lived experience case studies developed by the International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion and their partners/collaborators within the advocacy community have informed and have been included in a variety of reports urging lawmakers to reform existing laws and pass new legislation that will protect vulnerable children against the abusive practices of restraint and seclusion in educational environments.

Visual description: Infographic with ICARS logo in top left corner. Headline along top edge of image reads: “ICARS lived experience case studies used for the following reports.” Cover images of reports are shown along with the logos of the organizations and agencies whose reports they correspond with.

In addition to the above organizations and government agencies that displayed in the graphic (above) and which are also listed (below), ICARS has also collaborated with NIPSO (Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman) and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.

As a volunteer advocacy group, the reach and impact which ICARS has achieved since its founding in May of 2018 is poignant. The first such group to seek international legislative reform related to the human rights of school-aged children, ICARS has done something remarkable: facilitating and amplifying the voices of those directly impacted by the failures of existing laws related to the practices of restraint and seclusion.

Collecting, curating, collating, and distributing the personal testimony of child victims and their families, advocacy teams operating under the umbrella of ICARS– and collaborating with ICARS– bring forth one of the most powerful influencers of change: the human element.

When the immense cost to human dignity and wellbeing that is paid by the children and their families affected by restraint and seclusion is put on display, for the entire world to see, the issue of radical change becomes a matter of “when,” not “if.” Compassion motivates, ultimately. Protecting the vulnerable becomes a choiceless choice.

The reports in which the lived experience case studies have been featured are:

No Safe Place: Restraint and Seclusion in Scotland’s Schools, Children’s And Young People’s Commissioner: Scotland.

Inquiry: How Schools Are Monitering The Use Of Restraint, the Equality And Human Rights Commission

Northern Ireland/Ireland Call For Evidence On The Use Of Restraint And Seclusion In Schools, the Northern Ireland Assembly

Observations On The Draft General Commment Number Four On Article Twenty-four Of The U.N. Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities, the U.N. Committee On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities

Reducing Restrictive Intervention Of Children And Young People, The House Of Lords

Submission to the Northern Ireland Committee For Education On The Human Rights Implications Of Current Guidance Relating To The Use Of Restrictive Practices In Schools, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly

To further illustrate how far-reaching ICARS’ influence has been, thus far, please refer to the following image:

Image Description: infographic with the ICARS logo in the top left corner and logos or graphics for the following organizations and governmental bodies: the United Nations, the U.S. Senate and Congress, the Scottish Government, the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Scotland, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Government of Canada, The House of Lords, the Children and Young People’s Commissoner of Scotland, the State Government of Virginia, the Children’s Commissioner of Wales, the Children’s Law Center, Amnesty International, the Representative of Children and Youth, the State Government of Florida, the Northern Ireland Commissioner For Children and Young People, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Provincial Government of British Columbia, and the American Civil Liberties Union

In addition to directly influencing the formation and reformation of legislation and public policy, ICARS, their collaborative partners, and fellow advocates have been successful in disseminating information, educating, advocating, and rallying support for their cause through coverage by or collaboration with the following media outlets and news organizations:

Image Description: Infographic with the ICARS logo in the top left corner and logos for The National, The Times of London, ABC Nightline, TES, BBC Northern Ireland, the Daily Mirror, Autism/eye, ABC News, the CBC, the Belfast Telegraph, Global News, The Guardian, Belfast Live, The Sun, BBC Breakfast, Court TV, Hard Copy, Sunday World, STV News, The Washington Post, BBC News, Anderson Live, CTV, The Independent, BBC Radio Live, The Herald, The New York Times, and UnHerd

And this is just the beginning. With passage of the measure that will allow “Harry’s Law” to be drafted as legislation, ICARS will be intensifying its efforts to insure that the voices of child victims and their families are heard and the public awareness of the dangers of restraint and seclusion practices in our schools increases. With more awareness and increased pressure from global citizens, parents, advocates, allies, and activists, meaningful and lasting change is possible.

And, we hope… inevitable.

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