Deteriorating attitudes towards disabled people
15 May 2011
New poll commissioned by Scope shows the alarming levels of discrimination disabled people face in daily life.
- More than half of disabled people say they have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment (56%).
- Half of disabled people say they experience discrimination on either a daily or weekly basis.
- More than a third (37%) said people’s attitudes towards them have got worse over the past year.
- 58% of people thought others did not believe that they were disabled and 50% of people said they felt others presumed they did not work.
The majority of disabled people experience discrimination at least once a week – if not on a daily basis - and disabled people feel that public attitudes towards them have got worse over the past year, according to a new poll published by Scope.
The ComRes survey, commissioned by disability charity Scope, reveals that despite 41% of the British public saying that they have not witnessed discrimination against a disabled person; more than half of disabled people say they have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment.
The poll also found that 58% of disabled people thought others did not believe they were disabled and half of disabled people feel others presume they are not working.
These figures come just days after thousands of disabled people and their families took to the streets of London to protest against spending cuts and welfare reform which will see up to 1.9 million people on incapacity benefits being tested for their fitness to work and could see cuts of up to 20% from Disability Living Allowance.
Overall, the results indicate a worrying deterioration in attitudes towards disabled people, which Scope believes could make it difficult for disabled people who have been migrated off benefits as part of the government’s welfare reforms, to actually get jobs and play their part in society.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, responded to the findings:
“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.”
Notes to the Editor:
For more information, please contact the Scope press office on 020 7619 7200.
- Scope is a charity that supports disabled people to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. We work with all disabled people and have particular expertise in working with people with cerebral palsy and complex support needs.
- ComRes conducted an online survey of 2,050 GB adults between 18-20 March 2011. ComRes interviewed 533 disabled people between 21 February and 16 March 2011 online. Data was weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables can be found at www.comres.co.uk
- This is the second in a series of attitude polls that Scope has commissioned to build a clearer picture of the reality of disabled people’s lives in Britain today. Last year the charity found that disabled people continue to experience social exclusion with 90% of Britons never having had a disabled person round to their house for a social occasion and only a fifth (21%) having worked with a disabled colleague. The charity concluded that disabled people are still largely hidden from daily life and that addressing visibility remains a key approach to tackling discrimination.
- On 11 May 2011 thousands of disabled people, their families and friends took to the streets of London to protest about the impact of spending cuts. Visit www.scope.org.uk/hardesthit for more information.