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Attitudes to disabled people since Paralympics

09 July 2014

Nearly 70% of the British public feel attitudes towards disabled people have improved since the London Paralympic Games in 2012, the Government claims.

The claim is based on analysis of The ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. This is a national cross-sectional survey, which provides a snapshot of views and opinions. It currently runs eight months of the year, and conducts around 1,100 interviews each month.

The DWP press release also highlights, what it identifies as positive outcomes and indicators of a change in attitude:

  • Disabled people are moving into work or training at the rate of 100 placements every working day. Disability Rights UK's Taking Control of Employment Support argues that the government's work programmes are failing disabled people and argues that disabled people want to be in charge of their own support. 
  • 315,000 more disabled people are playing sport regularly now than in 2005.
  • Professional football clubs are moving to make improvements to the accessibility of their stadiums, after the government called for urgent action and after the Olympic Park showed what was possible. For more on this see http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26662957
  • BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and BSKYB have pledged to increase the number of disabled people in the broadcasting industry.
  • Over 8,100 rail carriages now comply with modern accessibility standards and over £500m will have been spent on upgrading railway stations to become more accessible by 2019.
  • London’s 8,500 buses are now fully low-floor accessible and all of London’s 22,000 black cabs have wheelchair ramps.
  • 66 tube stations are now step-free and TFL plan to make a further 28 London Underground and Overground stations step-free over the next decade.

For more on this see The Transport Committee's Fifth Report of Session 2013-14: Access to transport for disabled people.

  • Professional institutions in the built environment for architects, town planners, surveyors, facilities management and engineers have committed to making their professionals proficient in inclusive design.

The English Federation of Disability Sport has compiled a page of disability related statistics culled from various sources, which acts as a useful counter to this press release. Read together they show that there is still some way to go in changing attitudes to disability. For example:

  • One hundred and eighty disability hate crimes are committed every day in this country.
  • Fear and loss of confidence are the most common consequences of disability harassment.
  • Prosecutions and convictions for disability hate crime fell in 2011/12 after rising three years in a row – only partly due to fewer referrals from the police

[Source Fulfilling potential 2012].

Disability Rights UK has produced a number of practical guides aimed at stopping disability hate crime, which you can download. By reporting disability hate crime you are enabling your local police force to get a better picture of disability hate crime in your area. This could mean that further disability hate crimes are prevented because the police have a better understanding of the amount of crime in their area and they can use that information to better tackle it.