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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Carers can infringe human rights

This news post is about 5 years old

A Scottish charity has warned carers that too much devotion can hamper their loved one's ability to live life to the full

Carers who are too efficient may be violating the human rights of the person they care for, a charity has said.

C-Change Scotland said that some family members are doing too much for their loved ones, which robs them of independence and self-determination.

The charity, which runs the Dates ‘n’ Mates events in Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Aberdeen, says people with learning disabilities often haven’t been given sexual health messages and are discouraged from enjoying dates and friendships with the opposite sex.

It says family members can also infringe on a person’s rights in everyday ways by choosing their clothes and their activities.

C-Change chief executive Dr Sam Smith said: “Through nothing but love and devotion, protective families may look after a relative so well that their individuality is effectively stifled and their right to choose is silenced.

“We see it in what people wear and the things they do but most of all, we see it in the social isolation of young people who are protected from going out and forming relationships of their own.”

C-Change works with individuals and families to reset that balance and to provide individuals with a risk assessment which more realistically balances the need to be safe with the right to have an independent life.

This may see people going out alone for the first time; going on holidays with friends or going to events such as nightclubs and dances.

Smith added: “Very often, individuals may not have been coached in relationship skills or sexual health and wellbeing, if that level of independence has not been expected to be part of their lives. But it’s such a privilege to see people blossom when they are encouraged to have these conversations and given opportunities to try things out for themselves.”

C-Change employs personal development workers wherever possible from the same community as those with whom they work, in order to maximise local familiarity and knowledge.

Their aim is to work closely with individuals to form more natural support networks among family, friends and the wider community.



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Marion MacNeil
about 5 years ago
This may be very true and I agree it's very important that independence is encouraged and enabled. But I think it's a shame this article has been published on the first day of Carers Week, a national campaign to ensure family/friends who take on caring roles are celebrated and aware of their right to information and support. Perhaps an article critical of carers would have been better shelved till after this campaign to highlight our gratitude to all unpaid carers was over?
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Brian Combe
about 5 years ago
As the coordinator of a peer mentoring service for mental health carers I have to acknowledge that this can be the true, some of the time. When my hair was still uniformly brown I volunteered with the Anglo Austrian society who would take a group of physically less able people and an equal group of able bodied people of the same age and mix them with an Austrian group of the same configuration and for many of the people there it was the first time they could get drunk, kiss whoever they wanted get into a full on argument about something unrelated to their physical condition or shape and make up and be friends. In short have a typical teen holiday. But generally speaking it's carers who tend be on the sharp end of both social expectation and criticism. Our training is based on a strength based approach because carers have a tremendous amount of skill and resilience but the limits of that fortitude are often stretched to breaking point. Without unpaid carers many vulnerable people would receive very little if any attention and the economy would collapse. Our service is coming to the end of a very successful three year pilot. Tomorrow we are having an event in Stirling if you are intrigued come along
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Chris Banks
about 5 years ago
As a multiple carer for 45 years,I wish you could walk in my shoes.Husband had MS , mother who lost her sight and a lovely 44 year old son with ASD and LD.He went to live in supported living and to cut a very long story short this resulted in him having 2 children to a lady with many problems.My grandchildren have ASD LD OCD GAD and Dyspraxia..All the worry sadness and battling falls on me. I am now 71 caring for 4 people.No weekends or holidays for me.Support from social services is nonexsitent.