Sunday, 5 February 2012

Disablism Update: Big Rise in Abuse of Disabled People following Government Attacks

Several national disability charities are reporting significant increases in verbal and physical abuse of disabled people following their stigmatising as scroungers by both the Government and populist media. The regular Scope survey of the experiences of disabled people has shown a rise in disabled people experiencing at least one incident of abuse from 41% of respondents to nearly two-thirds over the four months to last September alone. Anecdotal evidence since then suggests no decline in this level of hostility - rather the opposite.

This rise in hostility has been parallelled by the passage of the Welfare Bill through its first two (of three) stages in Parliament and has been accompanied by increasingly hostile press coverage. Ministers have added to the atmosphere by portraying disabled people as scroungers and muddling their own pronouncements on benefits, including Nick Clegg's assertion that he wants to get 400,000 people off of disability living allowance and back into work. However, Disability Living Allowance is not actually an out of work benefit - instead it is a payment intended to support disabled people's additional costs in participating in society. Many DLA recipients already work - without it, many may no longer be able to afford to get there and end up on the dole.

But of course, with a Prime Minister who thinks its ok to make jokes in Parliament about disability, what chance is there?

More on this here.

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