Letter: A treatment order that could mean a family's safety

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Sir: I am the sister of the schizophrenic man about whom Rosie Waterhouse wrote on 27 January ('Mother gets pounds 353,777 after attack by her son'). My brother seriously assaulted my mother while he was very poorly, leaving her with permanent brain damage.

I think if he had been under a community treatment order this situation could have been avoided. My brother was repeatedly in and out of hospital during his illness. In the three months prior to the assault he had been in three different hospitals. However, the story was the same each time he left hospital, he refused his medication and deteriorated to a dangerous level. A community treatment order would have kept him on an even keel and allowed his family and other members of the public to live in safety.

I know that civil liberties groups are against the introduction of this order, and I think that their views should be taken very seriously and safeguards against any abuse of the order rigidly enforced. However, what about the liberty of the families involved? Our lives are shattered; we will live the rest of our lives on the run and in fear.

Once my brother leaves hospital, no doubt he will avoid his medication and deteriorate once again, so that he is also living in fear, full of paranoid ideas, and probably on the run, living rough as he did before. All parties are suffering under present laws.

Yours sincerely,

KIRSTIE MORRELL

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

27 January

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