Inquiry into disability-related harassment reports
13 September 2011
The report, which finds a “systemic failure by public authorities to recognise the extent and impact of harassment and abuse of disabled people” can be downloaded here, the “easy read” version here and the executive summary here. I have also reposted the Executive Summary via Scribd below. The Inquiry found, amongst other things:
- Cases of disability-related harassment which come to court and receive media attention are only the tip of the iceberg. Our evidence indicates that, for many disabled people, harassment is a commonplace experience. Many come to accept it as inevitable.
- Disabled people often do not report harassment, for a number of reasons: it may be unclear who to report it to; they may fear the consequences of reporting; or they may fear that the police or other authorities will not believe them. A culture of disbelief exists around this issue. For this reason, we describe it as a problem which is ‘hidden in plain sight’.
- There is a systemic failure by public authorities to recognise the extent and impact of harassment and abuse of disabled people, take action to prevent it happening in the first place and intervene effectively when it does. These organisational failings need to be addressed as a matter of urgency and the full report makes a number of recommendations aimed at helping agencies to do so.
- Any serious attempt to prevent the harassment of disabled people will need to consider more than organisational change, although that will be an important precondition to progress. The bigger challenge is to transform the way disabled people are viewed, valued and included in society.