News from BIHR

The Mental Health Act Reform and Human Rights

The Mental Health Act 1983 is a piece of legislation in England and Wales setting out when people can be detained and hospitalised for mental health treatment. The government published a White Paper in January 2021 on plans to change and update the Mental Health Act, and there is now an open consultation process on the proposed changes. You can read more about the proposed reforms in our plain language Explainer here.

The consultation closes on the 21 April 2021. We held two sessions with partners NSUN (the National Survivor User Network) to give people an opportunity to share their views and experiences of working with the Act or accessing mental health services, and to and learn more about the Mental Health Act White Paper consultation process.

If you couldn’t make it to our sessions, you can still your experience with us through our easy read survey. Fill it out to inform our consultation response:

New easy read BIHR resources published!

We’ve been working hard to write lots of new easy read resources for people to learn more about their human rights. We published some new resources last week. Find out more about them here or click the image below:

The Inquiry into the Human Rights Act Review: we responded!

On 13th January 2021, the Government’s Independent Review of the Human Rights Act (HRA) opened a call for evidence, looking at how the HRA is working in practice and whether any change is needed. The Joint Committee on Human Rights opened an Inquiry into the Review. The Committee opened their own call for evidence, which closed last week and we responded!

The Human Rights Act in everyday ways has led to individuals being more able to enforce their human rights in the UK. Our submission makes clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure human rights are made real for everyone, but that this will not be achieved through more legislative review. Find out more and read our response to the Inquiry into Human Rights Act Review here!

News from Elsewhere...

  1. Parents can consent to children being given puberty blockers, High Court rules

    “Parents can consent to their child being given puberty blockers without applying for a court’s approval, the High Court has ruled following a case that contested whether under-16s were able to give permission themselves.”

    The Independent, 27 March 2021

  2. Northern Ireland's most vulnerable children `stranded at the centre of a hurricane' following Covid dilution of safeguarding protections

    “NORTHERN Ireland's `at risk' children have been stranded at the centre of "a hurricane" after safeguarding protections were diluted during the pandemic, advocates have warned.”

    Irish News, 29 March 2021

  3. Coronavirus: Prisoners' children 'forgotten' during pandemic

    “Some 300,000 children of UK prisoners have been "forgotten" during the pandemic, with some inmates limited to just one or two face-to-face visits.”

    BBC News, 30 March 2021

  4. Home Office signs legal agreement to improve compliance with equality law

    “The Home Office has signed a legal agreement with [the Equality and Human Rights Commission], setting out the actions it will take to address its failure to comply with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ measures.”

    EHRC News, 1 April 2021

  5. Thousands of EU children face ‘cliff edge’ as still without post-Brexit status three months before deadline

    “Thousands of European children living in care in the UK face becoming undocumented within months as only one in four has been granted post-Brexit immigration status, data reveals.”

    The Independent, 30 March 2021

  6. Hospital Covid outbreaks soared in part because wrong staff given PPE

    “Less ill patients found to be more likely to infect others – PPE rationed for those treating most severely ill.”

    The Telegraph, 30 March 2021 (paywall)

  7. ‘Institutional racism doesn’t exist,’ government’s race commission suggests in landmark report

    “The government’s highly anticipated race report commissioned in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests has rejected suggestions that Britain is still an institutionally racist country.”

    The Independent, 31 March 2021

Thanks for reading!

There has been a lot of sad human rights news this week, and we know it can be overwhelming. Why not take a moment to read our blog, Value of Human Rights in Health and Social Care: from Covid-19 and beyond, to remind yourself and reflect on the value that human rights have in helping us achieve dignified and independent lives.