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Vocapedia > Health > Disability > People with disabilities > UK





Visiting Julian Cole: the man paralysed after being tackled outside a nightclub        Video        The Guardian        25 October 2019


















Blocked from benefits ... literally        G        24 May 2018





Blocked from benefits ... literally        Video        The Guardian        24 May 2018


Jaki has been living

without disability benefits

for almost a year.


When she applied

for employment and support allowance,

she had to attend a work capability assessment.


After an hour's journey,

she found she was not able

to access the testing centre.


Her experience is not unique





















Professor Stephen Hawking.


I was a child in the 1970s

when having a disabled father was a rarity.


Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA


 Dear Katie Hopkins. Stop making life harder for disabled people

Lucy Hawking        G        Thursday 30 April 2015        13.08 BST
















disability        UK




















watch?v=2DLK3qK2aw0 - G - 24 May 2018































disability and sex        UK



















UK > Disability Discrimination Act        1995













disability hate crime        UK










disability > accessible housing        UK










disabled        UK














be disabled        UK










disabled people        UK / USA















people with disabilities        UK












domestic violence and disabled women        UK









Why do disabled cinemagoers

get the worst seats in the house?        UK        2011


An undercover investigation

by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's Trailblazers

has exposed the widespread second-class service

people with disabilities experience in UK cinemas.


Trailblazers' Tanvi Vyas

introduces the group's findings

















cerebral palsy        UK

















paralyzing illness        UK










be paralyzed

acute flaccid myelitis    AFM        UK










paralysed        UK


watch?v=wPFLqk1Nhdw - G - 25 October 2018








paralysed > bionic suit        UK










paralysed        UK


a brain implant that allows people

to control electronic devices

by thought alone










Multiple System Atrophy    MSA        UK










the infirm























wheelchair        UK

















dyslexia        UK

















discrimination        UK










'mate crime'        UK

















disfigured        UK

















incapacity benefit        UK


http://www.theguardian.com/cartoons/stevebell/0,7371,1688182,00.html - 2008













'Mate crime' fears

for people with learning disabilities

Learning disabled people living in the community
are increasingly finding themselves the victims
of so-called mate crime


Tuesday 14 September 2010
16.15 BST
This article was published on guardian.co.uk
at 16.15 BST on Tuesday 14 September 2010.
A version appeared on p3 of the SocietyGuardian section
of the Guardian on Wednesday 15 September 2010.
Rachel Williams


Steven Hoskin had strong feelings about his killers. They had abused, exploited and humiliated him over a year, taking his money, treating him as their slave and making him wear his own dog's collar and lead. Eventually, having forced him to swallow 70 painkillers, they took him to the top of a railway viaduct and made him hang from the railings as one member of the gang, a girl aged 16, stamped on his hands until he fell 30 metres to his death.

Yet these were the people the 38-year-old, who had severe learning disabilities, had boasted excitedly of counting as friends. "He thought they were the cat's whiskers," says Morley Richards, who had known Hoskin before he met the group. "He would say, 'They're my mates, I've got my own mates now.'"

Hoskin's case is extreme, but the phenomenon of learning disabled people being groomed by those who pretend to be their friends before being exploited by them financially, physically or sexually "mate crime", as it is sometimes known is far from rare, experts say, and appears to be on the increase. As more individuals are given the chance to live independently, the unwelcome side effect is that they are more likely to fall prey to criminals. Hoskin was a case in point: he had left the tiny Cornish village of Maudlin, near Bodmin, where he had grown up, and was thrilled to have his own bedsit in the market town of St Austell, where he made his new "friends".

The Association for Real Change (ARC) has been researching mate crime for the past year in Calderdale, west Yorkshire, and in north Devon, after a groundswell of concern among its members who are service providers for people with learning disabilities. Examples it has been told about range from perpetrators routinely going to a victim's house and clearing their cupboards of food and alcohol before leaving them to clear up the mess, to instances of people being persuaded to part with their benefits.

Women can be sexually exploited by men who claim to be their boyfriend, says David Grundy, who runs the Calderdale project. "They might be told, 'We're a couple and we haven't got any money if you sleep with my mate he'll pay us.'" In other cases, someone with learning disabilities may be asked to look after a package that contains drugs and end up being beaten up as a result, or go shoplifting with their new-found friends carrying a weapon, only to get caught by police.

The victim may not realise that what is happening is wrong. "There can be a feeling of, 'He's my friend, that's what friends do,'" says Grundy. "People with learning disabilities have fewer friends. For some, any friends is better than no friends, even if they're spending all your money.

"It involves a lot of issues [around] self-belief and self-worth: thinking it's all right for people to walk all over them all the time, because that's what's happened to them the whole of their lives."

Rod Landman, from the north Devon project, likens the situation to domestic violence. "The primacy of the relationship can be more important than what's happening inside it. People are prepared to put up with all sorts of crap to keep a relationship that may be the only one they have apart from with someone who's being paid to be with them." As a result, victims shy away from reporting such hate crime incidents to the police, or indeed anyone. Every service provider that Landman talks to will tell him of cases, he says, but no one with learning disabilities will do the same.

Some families and frontline social care staff are still unaware of what constitutes a disability hate crime and what to do when one happens, says Grundy. Abusive relationships may get flagged up to adult safeguarding teams, but their primary aim is to keep the individual safe by removing them from the situation, rather than report those committing the crimes. This means that perpetrators remain free to target others.

As cuts lead to the closure of day centres and potentially less support for vulnerable people, there are fears that the situation could get worse. Gavin Harding, vice-chair of the National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, remembers the shock and anger he felt five years ago when he realised that someone he believed to be a friend had taken his cheque book and, together with another man, forged a cheque for 500.

"It was the fact they took advantage of me," he says. "It felt awful. You feel you can't trust people after that."


Information on ARC's Safety Net project is at arcsafety.net

'Mate crime' fears for people with learning disabilities,






We don't have to talk

about my disability

Stupid questions,
tedious stories and pats on the back:
the three different reactions I get
when people find out I have no legs


Monday 20 July 2009
The Guardian
Richard Pollins
This article was first published
on guardian.co.uk at 00.05 BST on Monday 20 July 2009.
It appeared in the Guardian on Monday 20 July 2009
on p12 of the Comment & features section.
It was last updated at 00.05 BST
on Monday 20 July 2009.


I was born without legs. I've used artificial ones for most of my life, and at first glance it's not obvious why I need crutches (stick with me; you need this information for background). For some time now, I've been fascinated by the strangely formulaic responses and reactions I get from people who are meeting me for the first time, or even just looking in my direction.

The British are, as we know, fairly reserved, polite, and often awkward. Which means most of the time when I meet new people, they don't ask why I'm on crutches. All that changes, however, if I'm out at night and the drinks are flowing. The interest levels seem to rise in parallel with the alcohol levels, and it's extraordinary how often I am clocked over the course of an evening by a sincere nod and the phrase: "Well done for coming out, mate."

Occasionally this phrase is accompanied by a reassuring squeeze of my left shoulder but that's it: no further conversation, no attempt to discover how difficult it has been for me to "come out". Which is a shame, because I usually have a fascinating tale to tell about a contact lens crisis that could so easily have scuppered my plans.

Other times I'll get a "well done for coming out, mate" shout from a stranger walking in the opposite direction without either of us slowing our steps. It makes me wonder if there was a day at school I missed when textbook uses of the phrase were taught. It just seems so peculiar that so many people use the exact same wording. "Well done for coming out, mate" it's like an automatic response every time they see someone on crutches having a drink.

And (if it's OK with you) I do enjoy having the odd drink. In fact, back in my "wild" student days, my party trick in nightclubs was to hop out of my artificial legs, walk upside-down on my hands, climb podiums and make a general spectacle of myself. There's a club in Leeds at least, there was in my day which served double tequila shots for a pound a go (if you don't know it, it's the only one I know of with a St John ambulance parked permanently outside). I still maintain I'm the only person who has ever been asked to leave this particular establishment and needed two taxis to transport all of me home.

On another occasion, I remember finding out who I could impress by jumping out of my legs and climbing up to the top of the dance podium (well, it seemed a good idea at the time). A literal out-of-body experience: when I looked down, my legs were crowdsurfing all around the dance floor.

I'm older and possibly a little wiser now, and I have come to the conclusion that the world can be divided into three distinct groups. The aforementioned "well done for coming out, mate" group, the Inquisitors, and the Troubled.

The Inquisitors are interested, curious and demand answers. Normally a short, occasionally awkward conversation ensues while I explain my lack of legs. Commonly, an Inquisitor's mission during this conversation is to find a line of questioning that is staggeringly original. I'm 30 now, and I can count on one hand the number of times they have succeeded. One such time, I remember being questioned in a dark and loud club at about 2am by a girl who wanted to know what my legs were made from. This in itself is not unusual, and I went into my automatic response mode.

"They're very complicated," I explained condescendingly, "but there's a lot of foam, cables and metal inside."

"Oh," she replied, "which metal?"

This had me scrabbling into the depths of my memory for early physics lessons at school, never a subject that filled me with confidence.

"Titanium?" I hesitatingly suggested.

"Don't you know for sure?" she sneered. "I would have thought you'd know exactly which metal was in your legs."

Sometimes curiosity gets the better of an Inquisitor, and they ask if they can "have a feel". I assume this is partly to check whether I've been lying to them, and it can give off the wrong impression having strangers squeezing me up and down while I nurse a drink and chat to friends. When the examination is over, the Inquisitor usually turns to me and agrees that I was right I don't have any legs.

Another characteristic of an Inquisitor is that they are keen to "have a go" on my crutches. And it doesn't seem to matter where I am. I might be in the middle of the dance floor, precariously holding a pint of lager when someone approaches and asks if I'm using those crutches. It's hard to find an answer sarcastic enough for this question, but I find "no, no, they're just accessories" suffices.

I'm being unfairly harsh; in fact, I have been known to let someone "have a go" if I'm sitting down or leaning against a pillar and my sticks are redundant. But what I do know is that you should never, ever lend your crutches to a hen do not if you want to see them again, anyway.

On the whole, I reckon I can cope with Inquisitors. The Troubled are my bete noire. They're well-meaning, of course, but exasperating. The Troubled presume, after finding out why I'm on crutches, that I will naturally also be interested in their tales of skiing accidents, sprained ankles, and the time they tripped up over a raised paving stone. Typically, no names have been exchanged beforehand and no breath is inhaled while I'm forced to listen to this tedium in minute detail.

Occasionally, the Troubled wish to talk about more serious times; they want to share with me their personal family tragedies. (Why? As any of my friends will testify, sympathy is not my greatest trait.) And so I find myself nodding, trying to look sympathetic, as a stranger tells me about his second cousin's motorbike accident five years ago.

I don't wish to sound heartless, but when you're on a night out with your friends, enjoying a few drinks and having a good time, finding yourself embroiled in a stranger's troubles can be a little . . . deflating. I understand that seeing someone on crutches can remind you of your time on them (and I do even enjoy having my ego massaged by a temporary crutch user about my abilities on sticks), but it doesn't follow that I'm the best person to talk to about more severe, general disasters.

So, when a guy who had been telling me about his cousin's motorcycle accident finally stopped for a moment to ask how his cousin's paralysis compared to my life, all I could tell him was that it didn't compare at all. I was very sorry to hear about his cousin's situation, but I had no concept of what life was like for him. How could I?

Still, the Troubled, the Inquisitors and the "well done for coming out, mate" groups do all share one positive influence on my life. I should, at least, be grateful to them all for never allowing me to feel like I'm fading into the background, ignored. And when I've made such a show of my artificial legs and crutches in the past, I can hardly gripe when people notice, can I?


Richard Pollins is a news editor at Five News.

We don't have to talk about my disability,










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