“As a provider of mental healthcare and accommodation, St Martin of Tours Housing Association supports 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 situations. Prior to getting involved in BIHR’s project, we were very hands off about room searches, drugs and managing visitors. It was very liberating to find out that the right to respect for private life is a non-absolute right which can be balanced against the rights of others, prevention of crime etc. We’ve been able to use that framework to build room searches into residents’ care plans and help keep drugs out of the ‘projects’ (housing units). We also had a blanket ban on visitors going upstairs in our projects because some residents had a history of sexual offences. We’ve now used human rights to amend our policy and assess visiting on an individual basis, which allows us to balance safety against resident’s right to privacy.”

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