A learning disabled couple were living in a residential assessment centre so their parenting skills could be assessed by the local social services department.
CCTV cameras were installed including in their bedroom.
Social workers explained that the cameras were there to observe them performing their parental duties and for the protection of their baby. However, the couple were especially distressed by use of the CCTV cameras in their bedroom during the night.
With the help of a visiting neighbour, the couple challenged this practice using the Human Rights Act. They argued that social services were not properly considering their right to respect for family and private life, protected by Article 8.
Under this right, social services needed to consider the rights of couple and their child and to take actions which are necessary and proportionate. The couple explained that they did not want their intimacy to be monitored, and that, besides, the baby slept in a separate nursery so it was not proportionate to monitor the couple in their bedroom at night.
As a result, the social services team agreed to switch off the cameras during the night so that the couple could enjoy their evenings together in privacy.
ATD FOURTH WORLD is a Human Rights-based anti-poverty organisation that engages with individuals and institutions to find solutions to eradicate extreme poverty. Working in partnership with people affected by poverty, ATD Fourth World's work focuses on supporting families and influencing policy.