Wales

Disability support evidence to help inquiry

A wheelchair user
Image caption Disabled people are four times more likely to be victims of crime

Disabled people are being asked to share their experiences of support from public authorities following abuse because of their disability.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) wants to hear of public bodies' reactions to disability-related violence, abuse and bullying.

The EHRC is holding an inquiry into how disabled people and their families and carers have been supported, or not.

The aim is to force public bodies to meet their obligations.

The EHRC is using its legal powers to hold the inquiry into the ways local authorities, the police, social services, schools, public transport operators and other bodies tackle - or don't tackle - disability harassment.

Research carried out by the EHRC last year revealed that disabled people are four times more likely than non-disabled people to be victims of crime.

Disabled children and young people, particularly those with learning disabilities, are most at risk.

The research also showed that disabled people restructure their lives to avoid risk of harassment and abuse.

Murder

Many incidents against disabled people go unreported but in the last 12 months the EHRC has monitored stories in the Welsh media of incidents from name-calling to robbery, intimidation, assault, manslaughter and murder.

EHRC national director for Wales Kate Bennett said: "There can be no more important human right than to live life in safety and with security.

"Disabled people should have the same right as everyone else to walk down the street without being intimidated or assaulted, to attend school without being bullied, to get on a bus or live in their house without fear.

"Abuse, intimidation and violence against disabled people can be terrifying and is largely an untold story here in Wales. If we collect enough stories at this evidence-gathering stage it will help us all to identify solutions and put them into practice.

"Improving life for disabled people in Wales is an urgent task."

Disability Wales chief executive Rhian Davies added: "We welcome the decision to investigate the level and depth of abuse, violence and harassment experienced by disabled people in Wales.

Practical steps

"We are determined to move this up the agenda. To this end we are holding a ground-breaking event to bring together Welsh police forces and disabled people's organisations to identify some practical steps we can take.

"Following the deaths of Brent Martin and Fiona Pilkington and her daughter Francecca, there needs to be a commitment to action to ensure all disabled people in Wales live a fulfilled, safe and secure life."

Evidence can be given to the inquiry by emailing disabilityharassmentfi@equalityhumanrights.com, phoning 08456 048 810 or textphoning 08456 048 820.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites