Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Disabled people facing deteriorating public attitudes

More than half (56%) of disabled people have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment, a survey from the charity Scope has revealed.

The survey also found that half of disabled people experienced discrimination on either a daily or weekly basis, and more than a third had said they had noticed a deterioration in the public’s attitude towards them over the past 12 months. Scope claims the results of the survey, which was conducted by ComRes, could make it difficult for disabled people, who may have been migrated off benefits to get jobs and become involved in society.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said: “Much of the welfare reform debate has focused on disabled people as benefit scroungers and many disabled people feel this has led to the public being more sceptical about disability issues and more hostile and those who receive welfare support. “Ironically this backdrop of negativity will only make it harder for the million disabled people who will be migrated off benefits to actually get a job. “The support disabled people receive from government enables them to overcome the barriers they face in daily life. “However, recent government spending decisions look to be eroding away the very foundations of this support. Without it, disabled people will be unable to play their part in society, in the workplace, in shops, restaurants, offices and community spaces. “It is visibility and increased familiarity in everyday life that challenges negative perceptions and attitudes towards disabled people. Unless disabled people can contribute to society, attitudes will continue to deteriorate and they risk being further excluded from society.”

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