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| Q.What is secure accommodation?
A.This is accommodation where you are locked up. A Secure Accommodation Unit is a residential placement where you are locked in, or prevented from leaving.
A. Only children or young people aged between 13 and 18 who are in care or accommodated by Social Services can be placed in secure accommodation. Young people aged 16 or over, if they are not subject to a care order, can only be locked up if they agree, unless the High Court makes a special kind of order, which is very rare.
A. Yes, but the Social Services can only make you stay in secure accommodation for 72 hours (3 days) without the court's permission. If Social Services think that you need to stay in secure accommodation longer, they will have to ask the Court to make an Order giving them permission to keep you there for a longer period.
It was thought that there might have been big changes to this area of law under the Human Rights Act. It now seems that the changes will be limited to a very small number of cases. You need to ask your solicitor whether the Human Rights Act could help in your case.
A. There may be a number of reasons, for example, you have run away from a placement, you have attempted suicide or hurt yourself or you might hurt other people.
A. Yes. You should contact your solicitor as soon as an application is made to the court or you are placed in a Secure Unit, if that happens before you go to court. You are entitled to speak to your solicitor before an order is made, if you want to.
A. Yes you can ask to see an independent visitor or an advocate. An organisation called Voice For The Child In Care maybe able to help. If you are outside London an organisation called National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) may be able to help (see the further contacts page).
A. If Social Services feel you need to stay in secure accommodation they will apply to the Court for an Order giving them permission to keep you there. You should have your solicitor there. You are entitled to be IN COURT at the hearing unless the judge feels you will cause trouble, but this will depend on the judge. The Court will appoint a Children's Guardian to report to the Court about your interests. The Court will decide whether you can be kept in secure accommodation. Your solicitor will be able to help you with any problems you have when you are in secure, even after the order is made.
The court cannot make an order unless you have a chance to talk to a solicitor if you want one.
A. On the first application the Court can make an order for up to 3 months. After this, the Court can allow the Social Services to keep you in secure accommodation for up to 6 months AT A TIME.
A. The Court can make a Secure Accommodation Order when:-
You cannot be placed in secure accommodation for running away only. The Court has to be satisfied that you are at risk of significant harm when you run away. Secure accommodation is used for the purposes of protecting you or others from you, not for the purposes of punishing you.
A. Your social worker should arrange for you to see your family and important friends. If you are not satisfied with these arrangements suggested by your social worker you should contact your solicitor (see section on Contact).
There will be regular meetings while you are in secure, when issues like these can be raised. At these meetings you can discuss whether or not you should still be in secure, plans for the future, as well as who you can see.
A. The Social Services must make sure that you can receive education whilst you are in secure accommodation.
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