This right also protects well-being, choice, relationships, privacy and communication.

How might this right be relevant to my life?

Some examples include:

  • If you cannot contribute to decisions made about your lives or the lives of your children. For example, only receiving social work reports on the day of meetings and not being given time to read and understand these.
  • If your mental or physical wellbeing is at risk.
  • When ongoing contact with family members or relationships with others has been stopped or restricted.
  • If there is a big intrusion into your private information or data. For example, if the police tell you they will download all the information in your phone when you report an abusive message.
  • If a public official discloses your confidential information. For example a new address to a perpetrator.

Can my right be restricted by a public official?

Yes. But if a public official is deciding to restrict your right, they must go through a test. They must be able to show that the decision is:

  • Lawful – there must be a law which allows public officials to take that action or decision.
  • Legitimate – there is a good reason (for example public safety or protecting the rights of other people, including your children or staff).
  • Proportionate– they have thought about other things they could do, but there is no other way to protect you or other people. It must be the least restrictive option.

You can ask the public official about their decision or action and and ask them to tell you how it was lawful, legitimate and proportionate.

If you can think of a way to deal with this situation or decision that is less restrictive to you then you can raise it with the public official as the decision may not be proportionate.

What duties do public officials have about my right to family life, private life, home and correspondence?

  • To respect your right:
    This means that public officials should only do things that restrict your right to private and family life when they need to.
  • To protect your right:
    This means that public officials should do things to protect you or other people and make sure you are involved in decisions that affect your life and rights.
  • To fulfil your right:
    This means that when decisions are made about your right and life you must be treated fairly. When things go wrong they should be investigated and steps should be taken to try and stop the same thing happening again.