Friday, 24 June 2011

HELP: Pt 2 of #EHRC #disability harrasment inquiry - PERSONAL STORIES

Anne Novis, MBE has posted again to our Facebook Page. She is overwhelmed at the response to help her prepare her report for the EHRC Disability Harassment Enquiry. She writes:

Wow everyone you have done so well giving me info to send to EHRC re hostility related to government comments and info. BBC Ouchers have also helped, thank you so much. I have 30 pages of evidence!!!!! Thanks to you!!

Anne has a further request she'd like our help with; personal stories.

I would apreciate any more personal experiences of abuse, verbal or otherwise, harrassment that you feel you have experienced due to what government and media is saying about us. Its this direct experience that has more wieght, many thanks

As before, please respond to this post. You can submit links to something you've already written elsewhere or write it as a comment.


DiverseJustice said...

On the 14th june I put this on my Facebook status

When on the bus the other day I over heard the bus driver saying! to a disabled person. Can you not get one of the slimmer type Zimmer frames. He had an illness that his body is physically in heavy sharp movements all the time. This requires him to have the much steadier zimmer frame. We all hear about this happening in other places. Is this the way we Fifers treat our neighbours???? hope not.

Recalling back to that experiance that disabled persons day would have been ruined by that bus driver as it was obvious in his expressions as he sat there.

Went over my facebook postings and all the above is what I had highlighted over the past few months. I appologise if its already some duplicates of whatever you have gathered. Just trying to do my wee bitty.

Sam Barnett-Cormack said...

I certainly think that the casual abuse and failure to make accommodations that we've all experienced have gotten worse in the last year-ish, but I'm having trouble thinking of specific instances, particularly that are clearly meaningful on their own. In some ways, that's the problem - while outright nasty stuff is getting more common, it's still much rarer than the day-to-day grinding lack of understanding, sympathy, or willingness to do the legal minimum that really grates. It's always been hard enough to get legal basics of the Equality Act followed, never mind with people not believing we're ill/disabled; the fact the Equality Act is on the Red Tape Challenge (or whatever it's called) certainly makes me more fearful for the future in this regard.

Peter Lockhart said...

Last year during the Westminster elections I was out canvassing for Labour. The SNP were also out and about, nothing unusual about that. They had a van that was going up and down the High street which stopped in front of us. The driver got out, looked at me and said "Next week we'll bring our wheelchairs to get the sympathy vote" I called him and ignorant bastard. At that point the local SNP councillor came across. I thought he was going to calm the situation down but instead he launched into an attack on me. I can walk for short distances, sometimes further than other, sometimes less. At that particualr time I was in a bad spell and not able to walk far, even if I could i'd still have needed to use the chair for the sort of stuff I was doing and the distances involved. The local Councillor had seen me at an church event a couple of years previously. For that i;d walked into the building and hadn't used the chair. I had been going through a good spell. So e came across and launched into a tirade. he said that he'd seen me walking and that I should be perfectly capable of walking, he said I used the chair to get sympathy and that he'd seen me dancing (not true). This went on for about 3 minutes until someone from his party pulled him away. I reckon that the attacks, ESA (and yes, my own party started all that) had a bearing on his ignorant tirade. It also worries me that people who should be there to help disabled people can have this sort of views.

Paddy Livelo said...

Am sorry but l feel the EHRC are taking the pxxx last year l phoned them like many other people with dates times like you name it the lot.EHRC are like a chocolate fireguard and lets face it in bed with david lol you dont need to be a Rocket Science, just tell them to learn to read they are making fools out of us

Peter Lockhart said...

On another occasion I had been having a debate about the cuts and charges that have been introduced by Fife council for disabled care and services. A local Councillor, not someone on my friends list, got involved. I put it too her that the charges and cuts were really hurting disabled people. At that point I was speaking for Fifes Campaign against the Charges and Cuts group. The council have been harassing us for some time with letter in the press and statements condemning us. Some of our members were recently given a lifetime ban form attending any council meeting. So I was telling this councillor about the hardship suffered by disabled people. She told me that the charges were fair (they’re £11 and hour) and no one had been to see her about the charges. I told this councillor that in fact disabled people are very angry about the charges. She came back and said
“Most people with disabilities try and get on with their lives without special pleading and want to pay there way. You may speak for a few that see themselves as victims. Clearly my constituents are made of sterner stuff”

She then logged off. I have no doubts that this attitude is prompted by the stories about us being scroungers.

DavidG said...

I was walking along Rochester High Street one afternoon, hurrying to get to the bank, when I found myself being yelled at by three men, probably all in their mid-50s, who were standing in the doorway of a pub. "This is the DWP, we know you're faking it," "This is the DWP, we know where you live" and so on. They were complete strangers, but because they could see I walk with crutches, I became a target for their hatred.

I can't say what motivated the person who reported me to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline earlier this year, the government protects their anonymity, but given they alleged that I was working full time at a point when I was lucky to get out the house four hours a week, and my car was standing visible on the drive at all times apart from that, I don't see any way for that attack to have originated by mistake. Someone made a false accusation against me for no other reason than that I am a disabled benefit claimant.

The DWP investigator accepted there was no case to answer almost before I got her through the door, but that in no way means that there were no longer term consequences to that. With a pain-based disability the stress of such an accusation can cause long term effects, and the consequence of this was that for two months my left arm felt as though there was a burn across most of it's surface. There's also a likelihood the accusation was at least partly responsible for the flare-up that followed, leaving me in such severe pain for a month that most nights I could not sleep at all. The physical consequences are still detectable now, nearly six months after the false accusation.

I am the person who has been subjected to disability related harassment, and yet the government protects my false-accuser, not me, and chooses not to collect data on misuse of the National Benefit Fraud Hotline. Revealing.

DavidG said...

As well as the overt incidents of disability hate crime there are revealing anecdotes about the attitudes of non-disabled people that cast light on a hardening of attitudes towards disabled people resulting from the campaign against us. I was speaking to two financial advisers at my bank and explained the effects that time-limiting Contributions Related ESA would have on my finances. They were horrified, but the way they phrased it revealed the hardening of attitudes 'Well, clearly you are disabled and deserve all the benefits you need to live, but it's everyone else who is faking it."

'Everyone else' and this from two highly experienced bank staff who spend their day thinking about personal finances. If they can be misled into thinking that disability benefit fraud is rife, then what chance do the public have of understanding how rare it is?

Just last Monday Radio Kent dedicated an hour of the Susan George show to disability hate crime (after making my experience of it their lead story). Two people who phoned in to rant against disabled people made the situation we face very clear. One alleged half of all claimants were faking their disability, the other that everyone using a stick or crutches was, saying he had seen people walk without them, or do some gardening or dancing. As Susan George pointed out, he might have been describing me, and my disability is genuine. People have been taught to consider themselves experts at judging disability at a glance, whereas as disabled people we know that the visual picture presented by a disabled person is often extremely misleading, with much of disability lurking invisibly below the surface, or varying randomly over weeks, days, hours and even minute to minute (as mine does).

The society in which we live has been shaped by government and media over the last several years into one that does not tolerate the reality of disability, but instead insists only full-time wheelchair users are really disabled, and condemns every other disabled person, whether a benefit claimant or not, as a fraudulent scrounger.

DiverseJustice said...

This link isn't abuse relatated. It's more of a highlighting of struggles on trying to maintain employment whilst suffering a fluctuating condition. I've added a full work history of employments that lasted 2 weeks plus. If you can pass that on it might bring about further understanding regarding fluctuating conditions. each of the unemployed periods mentioned in that history I had to endure back then 6 weeks suspention of benefits throughout. If she has the power to search my unemployed records she will find further evidence towards that statement.

Visually Impaired said...

POLICE FAIL to tackle disabilty hate CRIME

The Liverpool Daily Post reports on the latest incident of a councillor landing themselves in hot water as a result of a posting on social networking site Facebook. Lib Dem councillor Sharon Green is alleged to have posted a photo of disabled people “with text comparing them with the city’s Labour group”:

.Anger grows towards people on disability benefits

atos origin disability benefits protest

Disability protesters go on a remote offensiveMany disabled people are horrified at the proposed changes to benefits but, for some, street protests are unrealistic. How are they getting their voices heard?

Young woman commits suicide after being rejected. If able bodie person sufferswhat the hell is it going to do to a disabled person

In February, the Guardian reported on a protest against the disability benefits cuts. A man there explained that his uncle, who had severe mental health problems, committed suicide after work capability assessment tests gave him zero points and found him fit to work. After appealing the decision and winning his case, he was called in for another assessment. Again he scored zero points and was told he did not qualify for disability benefits. He committed suicide a few days before another tribunal date was set to hear yet another appeal.

Anonymous said...

ESA was set up to protect people with disabilities to help them, it does not do anything like that. Its all a sham set up by the previous govt to scale down the amount of people claiming. It is not fit for purpose what does it take to make successive govts realise this. I will tell you it will take the deaths of many before anything is done. Most of us are below poverty line in first place. Get Mr C and his cronies to admit it. I for one was discriminated by ATOS, DWP, TRIBUNAL SERVICE what more evidence do they want for christs sake.

A luz da noite said...

My personal experience (one thankfully isolated incident).

I walked out of my flat and less than one minute after the door, a man with severe hyperextension of his legs hobbled past. I followed him, using my walking stick and one of the smart ass teenagers stood in front of the building looked at his friends and said (clearly directed past me) "Damn, there are some f***ed up people in this building".

Hard to explain, but I know he was referring to me and that man.

incurable hippie said...

I wrote about my experience of disability hate crime here. If it can help, please feel free to use it.

Anonymous said...

From Facebook -

Friend had flat torched because hideous neighbours thought said person was a 'spakker' and therefore easy to get rid of. They had seen person alight special needs bus. Person was actually an assistant for bus. Shows the attitude though. Very sad.