Right to family life
The right to family life is the right of all individuals to have their established family life respected, and to have and maintain family relationships.
Advocacy could play a part in supporting people we work with to ensure that these rights are upheld.
An advocate might work with this right in the role of a Paid Relevant Person’s Representative (or paid RPR). A paid RPR works with someone who can’t make decisions about their own care and treatment, which is known as lacking capacity, (maybe because of a memory impairment or learning difficulty), is being deprived of their liberty under what’s known as a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation, and does not have family or friends who are able or willing to take on that role.
The RPR helps the person understand their DoLS authorisation, as far as possible, and to make sure their rights to challenge the deprivation are upheld. To do this, the RPR has to visit the person regularly and keep up to date with how they are and check that any restrictions placed upon them are in their best interests.
How we help protect Human Rights
One of our RPR’s Kate* worked with Peter*, a middle-aged gentleman who was living with epilepsy, cognitive impairment and hearing loss, following a serious accident at work. He was living in a care home and receiving care; he said he felt safe and settled there and had everything he needed.
After the first couple of meetings between Peter and Kate, some issues were raised. There were investigations going on looking to remove Peter's nephew as his deputy for financial Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPA). An LPA is someone who has been chosen by a person to act on their behalf if they themselves become unable to act and make decisions for themselves. There had been concerns raised that his nephew was drawing cash out on Peter's card, but it wasn’t clear what the cash was being spent on, and there was suspicion that the nephew was spending it on himself. Since the investigations into his nephew had started, he seemed to have stopped coming to see Peter.
Peter seemed quite low in mood, and appeared to be missing his nephew – he wasn’t able to understand why he wasn’t visiting. During conversations, it became clear that he wanted to see his nephew, though the staff in the home where he was living were worried about the nephew visiting because of the ongoing investigations.
Kate spoke with the care home staff and the Police (who were involved in the investigations) to help come up with a plan to allow Peter's nephew to visit him in a safe way.
A plan was developed to enable Peter to see and go out with his nephew as long as he had cash, receipts were kept for any money he spent on the trips, and the nephew didn’t have access to his bank card.
In this way, the advocate was able to support Peter's right to a family and private life, while safeguards were put in place to protect him from any financial abuse.