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Restraint Reduction Network launch surveillance resources to help protect human rights

The Restraint Reduction Network, in partnership with the British Institute of Human Rights, has launched new resources aimed at helping individuals and organisations take a rights-based approach to the use of surveillance.

The resources include an in depth plain English and easy-read explainer for both individuals and services, as well as a poster. They explore why surveillance might be used and highlight ways to uphold people’s privacy and human rights. Key ethical and legal questions are considered as well as what rights respecting surveillance looks like.

Alexis Quinn, Restraint Reduction Network Manager, said: “Surveillance is undoubtedly an ethical issue. How would you respond if the government mandated that CCTV should be installed in every room in your house, including your bedroom, with the aim of promoting your health and protecting you from harm? You might be outraged or even set to the streets to protest. We all have a fundamental right to privacy.

“At RRN, we recognise that the use of surveillance is complex. It can be really helpful and important. Yet when not used correctly it might breach a person’s rights. We are calling for its use to be proportionate, justified and lawful.

“We are thrilled to have worked in collaboration with the British Institute of Human Rights to develop new resources that will help staff, leaders, people with lived experience and family members to understand their rights when it comes to surveillance.”

Annie Smith, Human Rights Officer at the British Institute of Human Rights, said: “At BIHR, we work directly with people accessing (or trying to access) public services, advocacy groups, and staff working in public bodies. We also work with decision makers to ensure law and policy supports our human rights. When people tell us that their rights are at risk because of the policies or practice of public bodies, we push for change.

“Recently, people have been telling us that CCTV and other forms of surveillance are being used more and more across services, especially in health and social care services. We know that this type of monitoring can sometimes be helpful and rights-respecting, but we have to see it for what it is: a significant restriction on someone’s human rights, particularly the right to respect for private life (Article 8 of the Human Rights Act).

“In our new Explainer and Easy Read guide, we explain how using surveillance in hospitals, in care homes and supported living, or in people’s own homes, impacts on human rights and what the law says staff working in public services should do if and when surveillance is being considered. We are pleased to be teaming up with the RRN to raise awareness of this issue and make sure people know their rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Act.”

  • Read more from Alexis Quinn on this topic in her new blog here.
  • To download the RRN and BIHR Surveillance: A restrictive practice and human rights issue Explainer, click here.
  • A one-page easy download poster is available here.
  • Download the BIHR CCTV Explainer and Easy Read Guide to Cameras in Health & Social Care and Human Rights resources at: https://www.bihr.org.uk/human-rights-cameras-guide

WATCH THIS SPACE! RRN and BIHR are hosting Surveillancea Rights based approach webinar to explore the topic further on Tuesday 2nd November. Sign up to our waiting list to be the first to hear further details at: bit.ly/RRNsurveillance