We were speaking about the guidelines and definition of "personality disorder". The Minister of State made the point that the interpretation of social deviancy should be made on a clinical basis, that a clinician should decide on the matter of social deviance and personality disorder. While there is some merit in having a clinician decide what is a personality disorder, how does a clinician decide what is socially deviant in the light of our previous discussion when we outlined that social deviancy may be different for those from different ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds in our developing multi-racial society?
The Minister of State said the amendment is outside the scope of the Bill which I find difficult to understand. What we are trying to do is ensure an involuntary admission of a person to an approved centre will not take place because a person is suffering from a personality disorder and socially deviant. One could have someone interpret social deviancy in various ways because of their ethnic background. I take issue with the defining of these issues because, as we are all aware, in practically every Bill there is a section dealing with interpretation of terms. In section 2 of the Bill there is an interpretation of what is an admission order, an application, an approved centre, an inspector and a renewal order. There is even an interpretation of what is a relative – rightly so – but there is no definition of what is a social deviant in the context of the legislation. While I appreciate the difficulty in introducing such a measure, my amendment under which the commission would examine the issue and report on it would improve the Bill.