Biomedical Ethics

Until the mid 1990s, the majority of eating disorder treatments completely disregarded the 4 basic principles of biomedical ethics; being respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. In many cases, including that of the founder of RED HOUSE, the oath to “First Do No Harm” was severely and ruthlessly breached. Unfathomably, in the 21st Century there are still some instances within the hospital system where these primitively punitive and unethical regimes with regards to treatment of anorexia take place. Whilst we are not a medical facility, RED HOUSE has still carefully and compassionately paid special attention to ensuring the above biomedical ethical principles are upheld.

Public Health Ethics

RED HOUSE encompasses fully the Worldwide Charter for Action on Eating Disorders which “provides people with eating disorders, and their families and loved ones, with a list of their basic rights and reasonable expectations regarding eating disorder treatment and services”. RED HOUSE also embraces, and will use as an evaluation tool, the World Health Organisation’s QualityRights Toolkit, which “supports countries to assess and improve the quality of care and human rights conditions in mental health and social care facilities.”


RED HOUSE will abide by the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights and the Human Rights Principles (under the Disability Services Act 2006 Part 2 Division 1 Section 19). Despite the mandatory incorporation of these into mental health services across Australia, these rights are still commonly breached. RED HOUSE deems this unacceptable.


RED HOUSE is devoted to distributive justice – a political or social philosophy concerned with providing a service that results in positive and improved outcomes for a particular cohort; (in this case adults with eating disorders) – and procedural justice – a moral philosophy concerned with process used and environment in which these outcomes are achieved. RED HOUSE aims to contribute to the objectives of the overall mental health care system in Australia, including maximising equity and social well-being based on (consequentialist) utilitarianism.


Ultimately, RED HOUSE aims to assist and encourage women with eating disorders to become productive, independent and full-functioning members of society. This includes finding a fulfilling purpose in order to realise and reach their full potential and replace their need to focus so intensely on food. For many who have experienced a chronic course of illness, this will have the added benefit of being able to relinquish their dependence on welfare. It is the ultimate goal to prevent women from missing out on the fundamental enjoyments of life and conceding their lives to such insidious disorders. While research has revealed no “cure”, hope and ultimately recovery for patients will remain the foundation for treatment and the pinnacle of all that RED HOUSE will strive to impart.

"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm." - Florence Nightingale

©  Website created by Mary Jane Lawson. Updated 2019.