This is a call to arms. It’s a klaxon call to all potential social care ninjas. It’s an emergency call to the Human Rights batphone. We need your input.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog calling for a reframing of the social care narrative to be about the human rights of people with autism and/or learning disabilities. Most discourse around social care overlooks the human rights act completely. Look at most care plans; look at the media reporting of social care stories; even look at court judgements where a person with learning disabilities is at the heart of the case – the human rights act is barely mentioned. Since writing the blog, there has been two major new stories: Danny Tozer’s inquest after he died in a Mencap supported living facility and the NHS England’s commissioned LeDeR report into the deaths of people with learning disabilities. I’ve read many reports on both events and cannot find a single mention of human rights. Danny’s human rights counted for little both in his life and his death, whilst the LeDeR review is dripping with human rights violations but they don’t warrant a mention.
The blog seemed to strike a chord and two actions have happened since. Firstly, Alicia Wood and myself went to a meeting with Liberty and the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC). One of the outcomes is that their legal teams are currently looking into bringing a group action for human rights abuses either against a commissioning body or a provider. Getting a judge to examine such a case and to deliver a ruling could go a long way in shifting the narrative and would send a very strong message that the law cannot be ignored just because the person has a learning disability and/or autism.
The second action, and this is where you come in, resulted from a meeting last week of families and concerned professionals. We decided to hold a event that will focus solely on the human rights of people with autism and/or learning disabilities. The vehicle for this will be an online exhibition which will be held for a week from Monday 24th September and will be called “Rightful Lives”.
The exhibition will have a number of themed rooms, each based on a specific article from the Human Rights Act, which appear to us where obvious violations are taking place. These will be:
- Article 2 Room – The right to life.
- Article 3 Room – The right to freedom from torture and degrading or inhumane treatment.
- Article 5 Room – The right to liberty.
- Article 8 Room – The right to a private and family life.
There will also be rooms covering Protocol 1 Article 2 – The right to education and a room that shows how positive a person’s life can be when their human rights are respected.
We need your creative input to build the content of the exhibition. We don’t want to be too prescriptive about content because we are open to any suggestion. However, some obvious suggestions so far include: photos, stories, artwork, films, recordings, craftwork, media content, blogs… Another suggestion is to have a section that includes correspondence from the State that demonstrate disregard of the HRA. There is already plenty of material out there on social media, so we may contact you for permission to include already published material. We also want contributions from everyone working in social care – social workers, academics, psychiatrists, AMHPs, lawyers, commentators, care workers, providers, commissioners, charities, anyone with experience of working with people with learning disabilities. We just ask that you put your creative thinking caps on and consider what your contribution to the Rightful Lives exhibition can be.
Needless to say that we want lots of contributions from people with autism and/or learning disabilities. We’ve already received some cracking content but we would really like more.
To submit content for the exhibition, please email us at – firstname.lastname@example.org . We will send you a link to a Dropbox to upload your content and a consent form.
You can follow the progress of the exhibition on Twitter at @RightfulLives or the hashtag #RightfulLives or on Facebook at #RightfulLives.
We appreciate that in trying to shift the focus to the human rights act is a gamble. It may work; it may not. But we are determined to give this everything we’ve got and would love as many people as possible to respond to this call to arms. It’s worth a try.
Over to you Ninjas…..