22 Mar 2017

A hearing for Ashley

From The House, 6:55 pm on 22 March 2017

Ashley Peakcock loves animals, surfing and the outdoors but for the past 17 years he has spent much of his time locked away from the outdoors.

Labour MP Poto Williams looks at a photo of Ashley Peacock helping children feed ponies.

Labour MP Poto Williams looks at a photo of Ashley Peacock helping children feed ponies. Photo: RNZ / Phil Smith

He is autistic, has an intellectual disability and has been in compulsory care for nearly half his life.

"His first dumping occurred in 2004" his mother, Marlena Peacock told the Health Committee.

"After three days a psychiatrist declared him ready for discharge but he remained for ten months whilst a placement was sought and finalised."

His father David Peacock said his son was often locked in seclusion which only made things worse.

"Over the three year period that Marlena talked about, he spent at least a thousand days in seclusion by our count, out of a total of 1095 days," he said. 

The mother of Ashley Peacock, Marlena Peacock (center) speaks to the Health Committee with Ashley's father David on her right.

The mother of Ashley Peacock, Marlena Peacock (center) speaks to the Health Committee with Ashley's father David on her right. Photo: RNZ / Phil Smith

A petition seeking the transfer of Ashley Peacock to specialist individual care is being considered by the Health Committee.

The move the petition calls for has recently been promised by health authorities but will likely take at least six months to happen.

The parents of an autistic man who spends most of his day locked in (isolation) an isolated mental health unit, are demanding his release, saying he is not a risk.

Ashley Peacock Photo: SUPPLIED / David Peacock

Ashley’s parents told his story to the Health Committee and outlined systemic issues they said lead to poor treatment, including using medication and methods more aimed at the seriously mentally ill or the criminal to manage the intellectually disabled.

"People like Ashley with autism, ID, PTSD and mental health issues can be dumped into inappropriate services; services without the specialised staff and resources to abilitate such individuals," Marlena Peacock said.

"Ashley has lived in highly restrictive environments for most of the last 17 years," she said.

"It is our profound hope that this will soon change."