Human Rights Case Studies

A man with mental health issues uses the Human Rights Act to challenge a denial of justice

By Mind On 06/02/2010

In 2009 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was found to be in breach of the Human Rights Act for denying an assault victim access to justice (FB v DPP (2009).

This followed an assault case in 2007, which the CPS dropped on the grounds that the victim had schizophrenia and his evidence was therefore unreliable – despite the victim identifying his assailants and having physical evidence of the extent of the crime. Sadly this incident is not unique, as stigma within the...

Children's Rights Alliance for England: Our Human Rights Story

The Human Rights Act, passed in 1998, gives those living in the UK powerful protection for their human rights. It means that children and young people, some of the most vulnerable members of our society, can expect a minimum level of protection for their rights, giving them better access to services, respectful and dignified treatment, equal consideration, and the right to be involved in decisions that affect them. And when those rights – to be free from torture or...

Domestic violence survivor uses the Human Rights Act to keep her children and get safe accomodation

A woman and her children were fleeing domestic violence. The woman’s husband was attempting to track the family down; each time he discovered their whereabouts the family moved to a different area.

The family eventually arrived in London and were referred to the local social services department. Social workers told the mother she was an unfit parent and that by moving she had made the family intentionally homeless. They therefore told her she was...

Family uses the Human Rights Act to secure support from council

Young boy with Down's syndrome

Mrs X has multiple sclerosis and a 13-year-old son, Y. Y has Down’s syndrome and Oppositional Defiant Disorder/ Conduct Disorder. He has a long history of self-harming and violent attacks on his family. The family had been receiving very limited respite care, but there had been no attempt to implement a behaviour management programme for Y despite repeated requests. As a result, Y had not been out of the family home for the whole of the summer break. Mrs X was extremely concerned...

How Carol used the Human Rights Act to live with independence

By Mersey Care On 06/02/2010

Carol Legge is proud of the terraced house where she lives.She is supported by professional carers who ensure she can manage as independently as possible within the community and with the least level of control or interference in what is, after all, her life.

But Carol, who is a service user with learning disabilities, sadly remembers this was not always the case. It’s a past she does not like to dwell on, but has come to understand there is a major difference in the way her...

How Sarah used the Human Rights Act to improve the rights of young carers

By Mersey Care On 06/02/2010

Listening to other people and responding to their views is an essential part of treating everyone with equality, respect and fairness. But one group coming into contact with mental health services – young carers – felt ignored.

Helping them voice their needs has been children’s charity Barnardos, which through its Action for Young Carers project has been working in partnership with Mersey Care to ensure their rights, and the rights of their family members, are...

Human Rights Act used to enable a mental health patient to get married

A man who was a long-term resident patient in a mental health hospital wished to marry his partner. However, his consultant was unsure whether the marriage should be allowed as he felt that the man might lack capacity to consent to marriage. Staff at the hospital approached this by considering whether any human rights issues were involved and how they could make a decision which respected the man's human rights.

Staff realised that this situation had implications for the...

Human Rights Act used to get a learning disabled girl school transport

A local authority had a policy of providing school transport for children with special educational needs living more than 3 miles from their school. A young learning disabled girl lived 2.8 miles from the special school she attended. Despite being unable to travel independently, she was advised by the authority that she should instead take two buses to and from school each day.

An independent parental supporter who had attended a BIHR training session supported the girl’s...

Human Rights Act used to stop an older couple being seperated

Mr and Mrs Driscoll had lived together for over 65 years. He was unable to walk unaided and relied on his wife to help him move around. She was blind and used her husband as her eyes. They were separated after Mr Driscoll became unwell and was moved into a residential care home. Mrs Driscoll wanted to move to the home with her husband but was told she did not meet the criteria used to by the local authority to allocate places.
Speaking to the media,...

Mental health patient the Human Rights Act to protect his right to liberty

By Cambridge House Advocacy On 06/02/2010
Hospital Corridor

A young Afro-Caribbean man in a London mental health hospital was repeatedly told by nurses that he could not leave the ward, even though as an informal patient he was entitled to do so. When blocking his efforts to visit family and friends, the nurses did not invoke holding powers under the Mental Health Act and Code of Practice. Instead they had merely told him that it was not in his interests to leave the hospital.

The man’s advocate made a written complaint on his behalf...