Priya and Sunil have two young children who they adore. They also both have learning disabilities. Social services wanted to make sure the children were safe and being well-cared for by Priya and Sunil. The decision to monitor the situation turned into staff arriving at the family’s home every day without warning. Priya and Sunil found this very distressing. They ended up being in a near constant state of anxiety and were frightened to open the door. Understandably, this had a real impact on their family time and it was difficult for them to enjoy things with their children. 

Priya was in touch with an advocacy service who had received training from BIHR. Priya’s advocate explained how the Human Rights Act protected the rights of the family members to respect for family and private life (Article 8). With the advocate’s support, Priya and Sunil explained to social services that they understood their right to respect for private and family life could be restricted to safeguard their children’s right not to be harmed, but that such restrictions need to be proportionate. They felt the daily unannounced visits weren’t proportionate, and explained how the visits were having a negative impact on them and the children.

Social services agreed that in the future, they would arrange their visits with Priya and Sunil in advance so that they could get some control back over their lives, unless there was an emergency. Priya and Sunil feel like they have been able to regain their privacy and family time.