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#panorama on my way to training independent advocates to use #humanrights this morning I attempted to gather some reflections on using #humanrights as our framework for responding to mass abuse and mass institutions
Thanks to @NDTicentral for asking me to blog, you can find it below, I'm cheekily reproducing and adding in some further thoughts...
ndti.org.uk/blog/people-ar… /2
The moral outrage at last night’s #Panorama programme on Whorlton Hall is clear and justified. Language always matters, but especially now. /3
The anger needs to be heard. But this cannot simply be about a few bad staff. Nor can it be about “vulnerable people”. People are not inherently vulnerable; they are put in situations that make them vulnerable to breaches of their rights to safety, choice, participation, etc. /4
We need to focus on the situation and resolving the vulnerability it creates, or the same abuses of human rights will continue unabated once the media spotlight shines elsewhere. The abuse must be addressed but so to must the situation, the existence of institutions themselves /5
We must move away from simply thinking about good or poor practice and towards accountability for people’s legally protected human rights. Human rights are not about being nice; they are not even really about good practice, that implies an optional extra going above and beyond/6
Nor are hman rights about meeting the latest policy driver or even prioritising commissioning or financial incentives. Human rights are the legal entitlements that we all have, no matter who we are or where we might be living or placed. /7
The Human Rights Act places a legal (not ethical or moral) duty to respect and protect these rights. We must name what we saw on TV last night as inhumane and degrading treatment. It is not simply wrong, it is unlawful. It is a red line which people must not fall below. /8
What a human rights framework gives us is a way to describe what has happened and the standards that need to be met to address it and to prevent further abuse and systems than enable abuse. /9
Human rights is a language that focuses on the people at the heart of services, but which locates responsibility squarely with decision-makers who have the power to make the changes needed. /10
The legal duty to respect & protect human rights is about the individual decisions of staff within the service AND the system of public institutions that sits around them. This means Whorton Hall and staff, and commissioning authorities, NHS & LAs involver, the regulator etc. /11
Both need addressing – the service itself & staff, and the system that enables human rights abuses to take place. Too often we hear the system services operate within is broken and therefore bad things happen. A human rights lens does not accept this /12
Yet a human rights approach really features in our analysis and formulation of solutions. How many services understand & embed their legal duty to respect and protect HRs? How many people in services know their HRs and are confident to use them in discussions with staff? /13
In fact as I travel home from a day of human rights learning with independent advocates, how many of felt knowledgeable and confident to advocate for people's human rights in health, care, education, housing, etc before today. Answer: not nearly as many as you might assume. /14
Independent advocates must be an important peice of the puzzle (but only one piece), they can help achieve real change. But they too need human rights legal literacy and support. /15
Today I worked with 25 brilliant advocates eager to know more about how to use humanrights. They can have a huge impact on 100s if not 1000s of people's lives. One told me humanrights has been the missing link in bringing together everything they do. /16
The potential for change is vast. But today was a one off session & they had to work long & hard to buy in our services. Providing open access human rights support for advocates (independent, self-led, etc.) is undervalued. Doable, we do it every day. Funded? Not so much /17
The same argument applies for people who have learning disabilities, autism or both & families. Last wk, parents involved in Care & Treatment Reviews quite rightly asked me why this was the 1st time they were being supported told to use humanrights law in their everyday lives /18
From @BIHRhumanrights work & our joint work with @NDTicentral we know there are pockets of hope. Where leadership, frontline staff, people & families are using the legal language of human rights as the tool for change, but this needs to translate to our national approach.  /19
We must move from outrage to action, and action which is about respecting and protecting people’s human rights. /Ends (for now!)
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