Change that leads to better lives

Tyson's story

Article 8 of the Human Rights Act protects your right to respect for your private life, your family life, your home and your correspondence. In this short blog post from Advocacy Focus Tyson shares his story as part of Advocacy Awareness Week.

Respect family life

What was the person’s situation before working with Advocacy Focus?

*All names have been changed to protect the identities of the people we support

Tyson had an acquired brain injury and resided in a care home. Tyson regularly asked to see his wife who was in a different care home and who was unable to visit by herself. Tyson was on a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) and an Advocate was appointed Relevant Person Representative (RPR) to support him.

What did you do to help the person?

The advocate contacted the DOLS team, specifically, the Best Interest Assessor (BIA) appointed to the case, to raise concerns that the unwanted separation and lack of contact was a breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act and advised that the situation was impacting adversely on Tyson’s “wellbeing”, specifically his mental health and emotional wellbeing. His “domestic, family and personal domains” were neglected.

What was the outcome?

A new condition was placed on the DOLS to outline that the managing authority were to facilitate regular contact for Tyson with his wife, and visits began.

Tyson presented as happy that he was able to see his wife. When Tyson asked to see his wife (as he did regularly) staff could now remind him of when he would next be seeing her. Tyson had someone to speak on his behalf and to link up his wishes with his legal rights.

Areas of wellbeing addressed as per the Care Act:

  • physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • control by the individual over their day-to-day life
  • social wellbeing
  • domestic, family and personal domains

Why was advocacy support so effective?

The advocate made several calls to different professionals initially, and highlighted the matter as a tragic personal position for Tyson to be in, having an adverse effect on several areas of wellbeing. Also in legal terms, the Advocate highlighted it was a breach of human rights. The advocate looked into all options for addressing the issue – as a condition was put on the DOLS for contact to be facilitated, the RPR can now check on a monthly basis that the contact is taking place and address the issue further on behalf of Tyson if needed.

There were initially no conditions on the DOLS about contact with family. However, now that contact with his wife is outlined on the DOLS, if the contact arrangements are neglected in the future, another option would be to approach the issue in terms of the conditions of the DOLS – as a S21A application. This would allow the court to consider whether arrangements are least restrictive or whether the conditions are being met adequately. If this is needed in the future for Tyson, it would be a non means tested legal aid funded court application.

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