Kirsten shared this story at the Lived Experience Roundtable that BIHR and Liberty held with the Independent Human Rights Act Review Panel. You can read more about this here.

About Kirsten 

Kirsten is a single parent of an autistic son who has been held in mental health hospitals and subjected to restrictive practices, including mechanical restraint and long periods in seclusion. Kirsten has secured his discharge, with a bespoke package of care and he now lives happily and independently and is attending college.

How Kirsten uses the Human Rights Act:

Kirsten’s son experienced inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3) and limits on private and family life (Article 8). This led her to see the importance of section 3 of the Human Rights Act (the duty on public authorities to apply all other laws in a way that respects human rights as far as possible) in how the Mental Health Act (MHA) is applied. As decisions made under the MHA can be challenged if they are not compatible with convention rights. Kirsten now sits on a range of national working groups within the NHS and other organisations and holds public bodies to account using the duties in the HRA.

In Kirsten’s own words:

poke at a recent round table event where he shared his experiences of using the Human Rights Act with the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act panel: 

“Without the HRA, the Mental Health Act could trump people’s rights. The HRA means that MHA decisions can be challenged where not right-respecting.

 As a parent, the HRA gives you the legal framework to challenge decisions. Decisions around where someone is housed, contact with family, being turned away from services leaving a person at risk of harm. The JCHR recently referred to families as” “human rights defenders”. If you take away or dilute the HRA, you take away the tool to challenge for people and their families/loved ones.”