Project 17

Would there be a breach of Human Rights without help from the local authority?


If your child is in need, the local authority can provide support. However, it might not have to help you. It can take other things into account, like its own finances, when deciding whether to help your family.


But there are some situations when the local authority does have to help.


If there would be a breach of European law or of human rights (your rights under the European Convention on Human Rights) without support under section 17, the local authority has a duty to help. For example, this could happen where you and your child are facing ‘destitution’. This means that you either


  • Do not have adequate accommodation (e.g. you are homeless, or it is dangerous for you to stay in your home), or
  • You do not have enough money for you and your child’s basic needs, such as food, nappies or travel to school.

There could also be a breach of human rights if you cannot live together as a family (e.g. you are staying with one friend and your child is staying with a different friend).


If your situation is described above, then the local authority might have a duty to support you. If your situation is not described above, the local authority may still be able to support you and your family if your child is in need.  For example, if you are experiencing domestic abuse and it is not safe to live in your property, the local authority may have a duty to help you find safe accommodation. You should seek face to face advice to discuss this.


But even if the local authority has a duty to support you, it can sometimes avoid breaching your human rights and refuse to help your family if there is no legal or practical reason why you cannot go back to your home country. This is described in the next section.



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