6 06 2008

Charity warns of threat to disabled

5 June 2008

The Press Association

http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jKoSLtl78BGu2v4-NQ8FlWZsNhAw

Disabled people are four times more likely to be assaulted than able-bodied people.

Disability charity Scope said violent assaults are four times more common on disabled people in the UK, in a spree the charity has dubbed “disablism”.

The concerns are being highlighted by Scope in a cinema advertising campaign which features CCTV-style footage of a wheelchair user being kicked and beaten to the ground in an unprovoked attack.

Scope is hoping the public will come to view “disablism” as real a threat as racism or homophobia.

A survey of 1,300 disabled people, conducted by Scope as part of its campaign, discovered that one in five did not feel safe in their own homes and neighbourhoods.

Scope chief executive John Sparkes said the public needed to “wake up” to the dire situation facing many disabled people in the UK who live in constant fear of violence.

Mr Sparkes said: “Disablism – the discrimination faced by disabled people – exists in many different forms, from prejudice shown by employers to shocking levels of violence. It is a part of disabled people’s everyday lives and is as real as sexism, racism or homophobia but sadly less people are aware of this kind of discrimination, or indeed outraged by it.”

Scope head of policy Ruth Scott said part of the problem was that police forces often fail to acknowledge disabled hate crimes.

She said: “Last year we saw 50 appalling violent attacks on disabled people that were not flagged up as hate crimes by the police. However, since April this year police need to specify if its a disabled hate crime so our figures will be even more accurate.

“Disabled hate crime is not as widely recognised by society and the police as race hate and homophobia but we hope this is changing.”

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