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‘It's against our law, never mind anyone else's’ : the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and adults with learning disabilities

Stalker, Kirsten and Lerpiniere, Jennifer (2009) ‘It's against our law, never mind anyone else's’ : the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and adults with learning disabilities. Disability and Society, 24 (7). pp. 829-843. ISSN 0968-7599

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Abstract

This study examines Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the provision of goods, services and facilities) in relation to adults with learning disabilities. The study had a participatory element in that self-advocates co-facilitated focus groups and joined the Research Advisory Group. The paper presents views of people with learning disabilities, garnered through focus groups and interviews, about the Act and about using services. Awareness of their rights was generally low, although activists were generally better informed. While usually offered reasonable service in shops, pubs and other facilities, people were sometimes treated unfairly. This could take three forms - being treated with a lack of courtesy and respect, failure to make reasonable adjustments and outright refusal to serve. People felt a strong sense of injustice when treated in these ways but the majority were unlikely to complain, although a few had challenged unfair treatment. The paper concludes with recommendations for policy and practice.