St Martin of Tours Housing Association support people with mental health issues and with offender backgrounds who need help to maintain their independence or to step down from secure hospital wards, prisons and similar institutions. With an increasing number of complex referrals and residents exhibiting behaviours of concern, they applied to be a part of BIHR’s project to see if human rights could help change their philosophy of care.

Following an incident in one of their ‘projects’ (housing units) where a member of staff was assaulted, they used human rights to review their internal policies and practices on dealing with violent behaviour. They are now recording incidences of physical and/or verbal aggression more closely, assessing people to ensure they are getting the mental health support they need, working more closely with the police and talking about this with residents and neighbours as a positive step to create a safe environment for well-being and recovery. As a result, violent incidences have been reduced by 50% and evictions are also down.

“Using a human rights approach has helped change the character of the service and was a wonderful way to bring us back to focusing on human beings.”

Paul Holden, Operations Manager, St. Martin of Tours HA Ltd, from BIHR’s Delivering Compassionate Care project