Home > Disability Rights & Values > The Human Rights Act and Learning Disabilities

The Human Rights Act and Learning Disabilities

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Learning Disabilities Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Act 1998 became law in Britain in October 2000, meaning that fundamental freedoms and rights are now legally upheld. Any person that is in the UK is protected under these basic human rights, which the government and public authorities have a legal obligation to abide by.

These rights are designed to ensure that every single person is protected in a fundamental way. Some of the rights detailed in the Human Rights Act 1998 are limited so as not to infringe on the rights of other people, whereas others, such as freedom from torture and degrading treatment, are absolute and without limits.

Learning Disabilities and the Human Rights Act

Over the past few years, the government and many organisations have introduced a number of initiatives and strategies that have aimed to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities through improved support, services and advocacy. The white paper ‘Valuing People’ and its successor ‘Valuing People Now’ are two such examples of this.

Since the Human Rights Act 1998 became law, the rights of children and vulnerable adults in particular have also been bolstered by the added legal effect of the Act. For instance, human rights are at the very core of Person Centred Planning, which aims to give people with learning disabilities the right to be treated and live life with the same rights, choices and opportunities as everybody else.

Relevant Human Rights

There are a number of specific rights that are particularly relevant to people with learning disabilities, and the issues that they still face in day-to-day life. Some of these include, but are not limited to Article 2, 3 and 14.

Article 2 – the right to life

This is a universal and limitless right. Those with severe and profound learning disabilities therefore have the right to life-saving medical treatment, to treatment that prolongs life. However, it also calls into question the right to life and the right of the individual to choose to die, through euthanasia. As expected, this is an extremely controversial and sensitive subject that continues to divide opinion throughout the public and professional services.

Article 3 - everybody has the right not to be tortured in an inhuman or degrading way

For people with learning disabilities, this means that they are legally protected from both mental and physical abuse, protected from living in poor conditions in institutions, with the right to be protected from any form of neglect, such as not being dressed, fed or receive appropriate care and treatment. The Human Rights Act 1998 also means that public authorities can be prosecuted should they fail to protect people with learning disabilities from abuse or neglect.

Article 14 – the right to not be discriminated against in the enjoyment of your other rights

Has a particular relevance to those with learning disabilities. Along with certain legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act, this right helps to ensure that people with learning disabilities are not discriminated against because of their disability,in all aspects of life, including healthcare, job opportunities, the right to independent living, the right to services and support in the community.

Article 14, strengthened by the legal effect of the Human Rights Act, also helps to ensure that people with learning disabilities officially have equal rights and opportunities as everyone else.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My brother who has autism has recently been fired from agency work out of the blue,which was full time. He asked for help a number of times to have help showing him how to do his round again but instead they had somebody taking pictures of him while he was working.I just need to know if this is ok to do before I follow it up?
Rkxx - 4-Dec-17 @ 7:46 PM
Freckles78 - Your Question:
My uncle has learning disability, he has always lived in assisted living , the council take care of his finances, my uncle has requested that my aunt now to take over his finances , as he decided we wanted a new microwave as the one he’s got is around 8yrs old and rusty inside, and he’s been told No he can’t have one , but we don’t understand is why is he being told No it’s coming out of his money , he only wants a basic one around £30-£40 but surly this is not right it’s his money and he wants one but the manger of the care Home has said he don’t need one as his one is still working, but surly if he wanted 2-3 microwaves it’s his choice , what if he wanted to change the colour scheme in his kitchen or lounge , he shouldn’t have to ask permission as it’s his money and there not allowing him to have access to it , my uncle has now requested that his sister takes over his finances as he’s so angry. Are they allowed to do this ?

Our Response:
We can't really comment on individual cases like this as we don't have enough information about your uncle's situation.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:23 PM
My uncle has learning disability, he has always lived in assisted living , the council take care of his finances, my uncle has requested that my aunt now to take over his finances , as he decided we wanted a new microwave as the one he’s got is around 8yrs old and rusty inside, and he’s been told No he can’t have one , but we don’t understand is why is he being told No it’s coming out of his money , he only wants a basic one around £30-£40 but surly this is not right it’s his money and he wants one but the manger of the care Home has said he don’t need one as his one is still working, but surly if he wanted 2-3 microwaves it’s his choice , what if he wanted to change the colour scheme in his kitchen or lounge , he shouldn’t have to ask permission as it’s his money and there not allowing him to have access to it , my uncle has now requested that his sister takes over his finances as he’s so angry . Are they allowed to do this ?
Freckles78 - 13-Oct-17 @ 9:05 PM
I work whit individuals who as severe or minor learningdisability .I am very instrested to be advocate for the rights. I would very much to know more about human disability right and the only way Ican is to enrole in college for a better understanding.
Deszo - 8-May-17 @ 11:20 PM
What is the guide lines for taking photos if you expect abuse on a vunerable adult?
me - 16-Mar-17 @ 10:50 AM
Hi there I am writing about my 31 year old nephew who is severely autistic and has the mental age of a teenager. He has been in residential care since he was 12 following an incident where he exposed himself to a child, at the time we tried to explain his mental age at 13 was more like 6 but to no avail. He has since been sectioned and lived in various homes since. He is currently in independent living and for the last 8 years since his younger brother was born he has been deprived of his rights to see his brother as my nephew has now been labelled a paedophile even though he has not committed a crime. He is not allowed photoS of his brother and now since I have had my own children living in new zealand he is also allowed Zero contact with them, even though I have no concerns. Photos I send to him are opened and not passed to him. He has some good people working with him but also some bad ones who questionshim and his answer isturned around on him to incriminate and further solidify on his file that they are doing the right thing depriving him of his family. I find it disgusting that a convicted paedophile is imprisoned then a few years later released into the community to commit again. My nephew has NOT committed any crime yet is being treated as though he has. I understand they could argue they're being cautious but to not allow him to view photos of his cousinsseems ridiculous and unfair to say the least. He has a mental condition and a younger mental age and of course it's easy to influence my nephew and others that he 'could be' A danger. But we're only initially wanting that he can have contact with his younger brother and be able to receive photos of his cousins. To me this is very obviously taking away his human rights. Any advice you have would be much appreciated. Regards
Meme - 19-Jan-17 @ 7:33 PM
Hendy - Your Question:
I'm a student a t uni n student finance overpaid me due to me ticking the wrong boxes due to my major learning problems I've ask for this to be defared and told them about the stress and how it's affected my mental health and this has been refuse loads I feel like I'm being pea used due too my learning disabilities

Our Response:
Do you have a student welfare officer who can help you deal directly with the student finance company?
AboutLearningDisabilities - 2-Jun-16 @ 11:52 AM
I'm a student a t uni n student finance overpaid me due to me ticking the wrong boxes due to my major learning problems I've ask for this to be defared and told them about the stress and how it's affected my mental health and this has been refuse loads I feel like I'm being pea used due too my learning disabilities
Hendy - 1-Jun-16 @ 3:30 PM
i know what it is like to had disability and not get the right help.i was denied alot of things. eg. the right to chose where i wanted to live. the right to work. and the right to have help with travel cost. my stepdad did something about this. he went threaten to go the newspaper. after that i didnt have any trouble with dwp. my stepdad also set up a demo march. it worked wonder. i am now in a place where i get the help i need. i suggest threaten them with the newspaper. they dont want to get a bad name so they will do anything to their name out of the public.
monkeygirl - 14-May-16 @ 6:59 AM
Norman Howard - Your Question:
I have a grand daughter who is living with me and is being denied all knowledge of benefits which have been claimed for her by Social Services who wrote to me claiming I have no responsibility for my Grand Daughter and therefor they will not relinquish any information to me. My Grand Daughter is LIVING WITH ME , HAS HER OWN Doctor attends the local hospital AND IS REGISTERED TO VOTE is 24 yrs old unable to write or read very well unable to add and subtract due to lack of education while living in Hertfordshire and has spent a great deal of her own money (several thousand pounds) to get the right to live where she wants to. I was awarded appointee ship for her on 29th January this year, Hertfordshire now claim that the have been given it back even though I have told the court of protection AND THE DWP about benefit fraud (I have proof ) what can I do to rectify this injustice.

Our Response:
You need to contact the courts to find out what powers of attorney you have or could be given.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 22-Apr-16 @ 12:10 PM
I have a grand daughter who is living with me and is being denied all knowledge of benefits which have been claimed for her by Social Services who wrote to me claiming I have no responsibility for my Grand Daughter and therefor they will not relinquish any information to me.My Grand Daughter is LIVING WITH ME , HAS HER OWN Doctor attends the local hospital AND IS REGISTERED TO VOTE is 24 yrs old unable to write or read very well unable to add and subtract due to lack of education while living in Hertfordshire and has spent a great deal of her own money (several thousand pounds) to get the right to live where she wants to. I was awarded appointee ship for her on 29th January this year, Hertfordshire now claim that the have been given it back even though I have told the court of protection AND THE DWP about benefit fraud (I have proof ) what can I do to rectify this injustice.
Norman Howard - 21-Apr-16 @ 11:41 AM
@lj21 - thanks for taking the time to tell us about your experiences. We hope that others reading this page will see your post and offer their own thoughts.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 31-Jul-14 @ 11:29 AM
i have a 13 yr old son with a learning disability. it can be very challenging looking after him, i gave up my full time job to look after him and now i live off my husbands min wage. i do not have family help and he does not adapt well tochanges so my only option was to look after him myself. i also have a 20 yr old son whom at present is awaiting assessment for autism.... i have had to fight and fight to get help for my boys for so long?.. i think its disgusting the way people are treated when they know something isnt quite right with their child. i have been pushed from pillar to post trying to get help.i would just like to know if there are other parents/carers out there whom have gone through similar circumstances?.
lj21 - 31-Jul-14 @ 7:43 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AboutLearningDisabilities website. Please read our Disclaimer.