A report has been produced on ‘Being disabled in Britain’ by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Being Disabled In Britain) on 03 April 2017; the report is based around six key areas of disabled people’s lives and are evidence based findings, they cover: Education, Work, Standard of living, Health and care, Justice and Detention and Participation and Identity.
Disabled pupils have a lower attainment rate at school than non-disabled pupils In 2014/15 the educational attainment of children with SEN (Special Education Needs) was 3 times lower than that of non-disabled children, they are also more likely to be permanently or temporarily excluded, there is also not much support for disabled pupils to do well at school and little support if they are bullied. These all contribute to poorer outcomes for disabled children and are a factor into how much harder it is for disabled people to get jobs.
Disabled people are less likely to be employed than non-disabled people. The government has created support programmes such as Access to Work and the Work Programme but this does not seem to be working. 35% of non-disabled people are more likely to get jobs through the Work Programme than disabled people (18%), less than half of disabled adults (47.6%) were in employment in the years 2015/16 compared to 80% of non-disabled people in employment.
There is a pay gap which also exists for disabled people. On average they earn £9.85 per hour compared to a non-disabled person earning £11.41 for the same role, due to all of these circumstances low numbers of disabled people are taking up jobs/apprenticeships but these numbers have slightly improved in Scotland.
Standard of living
Disabled people are more likely to be in poverty than non-disabled people. Across the UK, 18.4% of disabled people aged 16-64 were considered to be in food poverty. This is due to the changing rules within the benefits and support system making it harder for disabled people to get the money and support that they need.
Housing is a huge problem as there aren’t enough suitable houses for disabled people and local authorities have failed to plan adequately for this.
Health and care
Disabled people will experience difficulty in getting the help with their disability related health and care needs be they physical or emotional support, such as counselling.
They are more likely to die younger because of poor support and lack of counselling; they either have a long wait or don’t get support at all.
Long waits for care and support are common and that support is not always suitable. Some disabled people receive poor treatment from places like mental health hospitals and care homes where staff have mistreated them to the extent of holding down their bodies to stop them from moving which in turn adds to the existing pain.
Justice and detention
People with mental health conditions who are in prison, mental health hospitals or refugee centres have a really high risk of self-inflicted wounds/death; this is due to a lack of monitoring systems being in place. Some of these people are kept there against their will.
Many disabled people feel unsafe where they live as they are more likely to be a victim of crime, for example disabled people in Scotland have said they don’t feel safe to travel alone in the dark, where as some disabled people in England and Wales have said they feel unsafe to walk around during the day!
When a crime is committed against a disabled person it is harder for them to get help from the law as not all criminal justice agencies understand the different forms of hate crime towards people with disabilities. Changes to legal aid in England and Wales have negatively affected disabled peoples access to justice in family law, housing, employment, debt and welfare benefits.
Participation and identity
Disabled people find it hard to be part of the community even if they want to as they come across barriers to simple things like their right to vote, taking part in politics and making big decisions about the country, using transport, healthcare, banks, internet.
What needs to happen next
· Disabled people should have the same options available to them as non-disabled people which includes doing well in education
· Get the right healthcare and support that they require
· Get the right housing so that they do not feel unsafe where they are living
· Get legal help when they require so they can be confident in the law,
· They should be able to use the same means of transport as non-disabled people
· They should be able to have a say in what happens in their country and local area
· Government needs to make laws and plans to cater for disabled people and their needs
· There should be better information about what disabled people experience in their day to day lives and what needs to be changed to ensure disabled people have the same opportunities as others.