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The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and adults with learning disabilities

Stalker, K. and Lerpiniere, Jennifer (2008) The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and adults with learning disabilities. In: Fourth international disability studies conference, 2008-09-02 - 2008-09-04, Lancaster University, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper will present findings from a 15 month study, funded by the Baily Thomas Trust, entitled Rights and Responsibilities: the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Adults with Learning Disabilities. The focus was on Part III (access to goods and services). One aim of the study was to explore how far people with learning disabilities and family carers were aware of their rights under the Act. This aim was addressed through focus groups with people with learning disabilities and family carers and interviews with disability organisations. Members of a self-advocacy organisation co-facilitated the focus groups with people with learning disabilities. Focus groups and interviews explored 1) knowledge of the Disability Discrimination Act, 2) understandings and experiences of discrimination and 3) views about the accessibility of services. Overall, knowledge of the Act and awareness of rights was low. People generally found services, such as shops, cafes and sports centres, reasonably helpful. However, problems had been experienced with staff attitudes, the behaviour of other customers, inflexible application of rules, inaccessible information and insufficient support for communication. Several participants recounted personal experiences of what they considered to be direct discrimination, for example, being refused service in a pub or prevented from using a swimming pool. People felt a strong sense of injustice about such treatment but most had not actively challenged it. However, a few individuals, usually activists in disability organisations, had protested. The findings show an urgent need for wide-scale information provision, education and consciousness-raising, along with stronger enforcement of the law and penalties to improve compliance. Legislative changes are also required, along with more advisory and better legal support for people with learning disabilities.

Item type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
ID code: 26534
Keywords: Disability Discrimination Act 1995, adults with learning disabilities, Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland, Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Subjects: Law > Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland
Social Sciences > Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Department: Faculty of Education > Educational and Professional Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) > School of Social Work and Social Policy > Social Work
Related URLs:
    Depositing user: Mrs Marie Henderson
    Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2010 16:51
    Last modified: 06 Sep 2014 17:56
    URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/26534

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