AGENCIES SHOULD DO MORE TO TACKLE DISABILITY RELATED HARASSMENT.

Authorities need to take further steps to ensure that harassment of disabled people is taken more seriously and doesn’t escalate into the situation Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter Francecca found themselves in five years ago, the  Commission said today.

In 2011, the Commission carried out a ground-breaking inquiry into disability related harassment, which found that there was a systemic failure by public authorities and transport operators to prevent disability related harassment. A follow-up report issued today details the responses since then from government, authorities and transport operators. It shows that many are taking significant steps, making progress, individually and collectively, towards making a real difference. These steps include:
A commitment to monitoring Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act and data sharing which will help to identify ‘at risk’ individuals;
Addressing cyber bullying; and
Tackling anti social behaviour in social housing.

But the Commission’s evidence shows that actions taken to prevent and tackle harassment are patchy with some authorities doing nothing or very little at all. The Disability Hate Crime Network still shows daily postings of reports on attacks against disabled people. Disability hate crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales for 2011/12 increased by 24.1% on the previous year which suggests there are more hate crimes towards disabled people or more people feel comfortable reporting it. Yet other figures show that less than 3.0% of disability related hate crime is reported or recognised as such.

In its report  ‘Out in the Open: a manifesto for change’ issued today, the Commission makes recommendations in 7 strategic areas which need to be addressed if disability harassment is to be reduced:

Improved reporting, recording and recognition of disability related harassment so disabled people know their account of being tormented or worse, is taken seriously at every stage. This also makes it easier to capture the true extent of harassment if we know if the victim was singled out because they are disabled.

Gaps in legislation and national policy to be addressed, such as tougher use of sentencing for those found guilty of harassment and more involvement of disabled people in public life e.g. jury service.

Adequate support and advocacy to be provided, especially for those with a learning difficulty who may need someone to speak up on their behalf or provide emotional support.

Improved practice and shared learning. Government and others need to work together to drive up standards and learn from any mistakes.

Better redress and access to justice. A disabled person’s account should be equally as credible as a non-disabled person’s in a court of law.

Improved prevention, deterrence and understanding of motivation. If research is invested in understanding why people commit these crimes, it will be easier to profile potential perpetrators and thus intervene earlier on.

More transparency, accountability and involvement of disabled people in developing policies and responses to disability related harassment.

Mike Smith, lead Commissioner for the Disability Harassment Inquiry, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

‘The issue of disability-related harassment might be “out in the open” but it is, most certainly, not yet sorted. It is incumbent upon us all, especially in times of austerity, to work to overcome this blight on our society.’

Source: EHRC
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/news/2012/october/agencies-should-do-more-to-tackle-disability-related-harassment/

22.19.2012

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Please Check out this LGBT Survey

LGBT Survey for people in and around Wolverhampton

In partnership with Wolverhampton City Council, an LGBT survey is being conducted to better understand LGBT people in and around Wolverhampton. This will improve our understanding of the diverse, often hidden community. Please complete the survey online https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LGBTSurvey2012 please contact LGBT Wolverhampton if you require a paper copy or support to complete.

Information about LGBT people is vital to ensure services meet the needs of this section of our community.

Why share your information? It helps to shape local services and ensure the needs of local people are met, if they don’t know about us they can’t support us.

Is Big brother watching? Our survey is confidential, we don’t ask asking your name and we only ask for the first part of your postcode. We won’t know who has filled in the survey.

Who gets to know? The information you share on the survey will contribute to us gathering statistics and information, which will mainly be used as statistical data to help us to improve the lives of LGBT people who live, work and/or socialise in Wolverhampton. This is a step towards making Wolverhampton a better place for LGBT people to be.

Pressure to say more than you feel comfortable with? We ask you to answer the first 3 questions, to ensure we are reaching the right people, after that, all questions are optional.

Influencing local services – we really can’t moan about how awful services are if they don’t know what we need. LGBT Wolverhampton can campaign for better services if we know about previous experience, help us to make a case for all LGBT people in Wolverhampton.

Please click on the link now to complete the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LGBTSurvey2012

For anymore information please contact Martha Bishop from the
LGBT Network Tele: 01902 425092 or Email: http://www.lgbtwolverhampton.org.uk

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CAMPAINGNERS SAY THAT DISABLED FEARFUL OF INCOME LOSS

Eight-in-10 people claim losing their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will drive them into isolation, a coalition of 90 disabled people’s groups says. In a survey of more than 4,500 UK disabled people, the Hardest Hit campaign found nine in 10 fear the DLA loss will be bad for their health. The DLA is to be replaced in 2013 by the personal independence payment.

The Government said money was too often wasted on overpayments where people’s conditions have changed. At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, David Cameron spoke of the plan to give more money to “severely disabled children” and a lower amount for less disabled people, which “showed the right values and the right approach”. Exact details of how the personal independence payment (PIP) will be allocated have not yet been revealed and those wishing to claim it will have to go through a reassessment of their needs.

The Hardest Hit campaign, an alliance of disability charities and grassroots organisations, fears the new PIP will see the criteria for eligibility changed to the detriment of disabled people.

In its report, the Tipping Point, the group claims up to 500,000 people will lose out on “vital support” when the DLA is scrapped. “Disabled people and their families are struggling to make ends meet and feel increasingly nervous about the future,” the report says. Its survey found 65% of respondents who were in work said without the DLA they would not be able to work and three in 10 said without the DLA their carer would not be able to work. Three-quarters of those surveyed said losing the allowance would mean they would need more social care support from their local council.

Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said there were a lot of misleading stories about the impact of welfare reforms on disabled people. “The truth is – as the Paralympics showed – the UK continues to be a world leader in the rights for disabled people. “However, too often under the current system we are wasting money on overpayments where people’s conditions have changed, with £630m a year on DLA alone.

The Hardest Hit campaign is made up of more than 90 disabled people’s organisations and charities such as Sense, the RNIB and Mencap.

Source: BBC News
Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19963608

22nd October 2012

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LOCAL AUTHORITY CARE CUTS HITTING THE DISABLED

The majority of councils have abandoned support for all but their most severely disabled residents, a survey has found. A series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made by The Independent has uncovered that while 14% of responding authorities currently provide support for disabled individuals deemed to have moderate needs, this figure is set to drop to 11% next year following further cuts to social care budgets.

The FOI requests revealed that Darlington BC is set to cut its adult social care budget by 10% in December by providing care only to those persons classed as critical. Plans have been sent out to consultation at Rochdale MBC to stop the provision of support for adults with moderate needs, while City of York Council is looking to save £390,000 a year by implementing similar restrictions on its community care services.

A separate report published by a coalition of disabled charities and organisations has claimed that disabled people and their families are on the cusp of sliding into entrenched isolation and poverty because of income reductions and benefit cuts. The Hardest Hit’s report The Tipping Point states that local authorities have removed £2bn from social care budgets despite demand for care services continuing to grow.

Cllr David Rogers, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘Local authorities are already facing a £1.89bn reduction in social care budgets and increasing demand from a rapidly ageing population. Unless this growing and immediate funding crisis is addressed things are going to get much worse.

‘All too soon we are going to be faced with a funding crisis that we are no longer going to be able to tackle. The challenge of reforming adult social care is set to fall off a cliff edge and politicians need to act now or risk severely impacting on the services councils can provide for generations to come,’ Cllr Rogers added.

Responding to the publication from The Hardest Hit, chief executive of Mind, Paul Farmer said: ‘This report clearly demonstrates both that the current system is not working fairly and effectively, and that changes that are due to come in soon are likely to make things even worse for disabled people.’ Link to The Tipping Point report: Link to The Hardest Hit: http://thehardesthit.wordpress.com/

Source; LocalGov.co.uk
Link: http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=107413

22nd October 2012

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A Week With ACTIVEYES

Monday 22nd October

Swimming at Bilston Leisure Centre from 3pm – 4pm

Tuesday 23rd October

Activeyes & Beacon 4 Work Open Day

At Beacon Centre for the Blind from 10am – 4pm and 7pm – 9pm.

Come along to find out more about what Beacon 4 work & Activeyes can offer you and speak to visually impaired people who already use our services.

Wednesday 24th October

Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Lunch

Meeting at 11am inside the Art Gallery for a walk around the Sensing Sculpture Exhibition, then stopping for lunch in the galleries café.

Also on the 24th October – Goalball at Bilston Leisure Centre

Sessions run from 5 – 7pm and cost £2.50

Thursday 25th October

Mexican evening at Chiquitos, Bentley Bridge, Wednesfield, 6.30pm

Join us for a Mexican feast at this popular grill and bar, with two courses on offer for £9.99 If you are planning on attending please let me know by this coming Monday so we can confirm numbers to the restaurant.

If you need any more information on these activities then please get in touch.

Tim Jukes
Community Support Officer | Beacon Centre for the Blind
Wolverhampton Road East, Wolverhampton, WV4 6AZ.
T: 01902 880111 |D: 01902 880111 | W: http://www.beacon4blind.co.uk

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LORDS FEAR BEDROOM TAX WILL HURT DISABLED TENANTS

Peers have raised concerns about the impact of the bedroom tax on disabled people – and said discretionary housing payments will do little to help the problem.

Peers debated the housing benefit regulations in the House of Lords on Tuesday. The regulations introduce the bedroom tax, which will see an estimated 660,000 social housing tenants with spare rooms docked an average of £14 per week in housing benefit. The government estimates the policy will save £500 million a year.

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates 420,000 of the 660,000 affected will be disabled people. The government has made an additional £25 million a year available for people who have had their homes significantly adapted and a further £5 million for foster carers, but peers believe this will not be sufficient.

Labour peer Lord William McKenzie said: ‘It is accepted that 420,000 of the 660,000 households affected… contain a family member with a disability. On what basis did the government consider the addition of a £30 million a year DHP pot to be sufficient to address the needs of a disabled tenant?’

Another Labour peer, Patricia Hollis sarcastically described the £30 million of DHPs as ‘brilliant’. She said: ‘I calculate that my local authority might get £200,000 in DHPs. It has something like 20,000 families in social rented accommodation, half of whom may be pensioners and half of whom may be other tenants, and two-thirds of whom will be on housing benefit, so we are talking about 6,000 tenants, of whom perhaps half will be regarded as underoccupying.

Liberal Democrat Lord Archy Kirkwood, said: ‘I was taken aback by the extent to which the client group [disabled people] will be affected by this policy change. I wish that I had known it during the passage of the bill.’

Welfare reform minister Lord David Freud said it does not necessarily follow that the daily lives of the 420,000 people are affected by their disabilities.

He said: ‘Lords will accept that, as unpalatable as these measures are, we have found the best balanced way of reducing the housing bill, which is simply enormous now.

‘It requires a response from local authorities, housing associations and tenants but one that, in the majority of cases, these groups will be able to make. There will be hard cases.

‘Let us hope we have put enough resource into looking after various hard cases.’

Source: Inside Housing

17.10.2012

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/lords-fear-bedroom-tax-will-hurt-disabled-tenants/6524235.article

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450,000 Disabled People To Lose Out Under Universal Credit

Nearly half a million people and their families could lose up to £58 pounds a week under the coalitions flagship welfare policy – cuts so deep that in 10 disabled households with children fear they might lose their home, a commision led by the Paralymic gold medlalist Lady Grey – Thompson as found.

Backed by three charities: Citizen Advice, The Children`s Society and Disability Rights UK – the commision examined the impact on disabled people.

The commission’s report, based on surveys of 3,500 disabled people and their families, says about 450,000 disabled people could stand to lose out under universal credit once it is fully implemented. Many are likely to struggle to pay for basic essentials such as food and heating, it says.

Three groups are particularly at risk, according to the report: 100,000 disabled children stand to lose up to £28 a week directly; 230,000 severely disabled people who do not have another adult to assist them are at risk of losing £28-£58 a week; and up to 116,000 disabled people who work could lose about £40 a week as the disability element of working tax credits is subsumed into the new scheme.

The charities and the commission are calling for more cash to be injected into universal benefits for disadvantaged families. “When families who may be affected were asked about losing £30 per week in support for disabled children, they expressed widespread concerns about having to cut back on food or heating, and getting into, or further into, debt,” the report says. “Around one in 10 families expressed fears that they could no longer be able to afford their home.”

The government claims universal credit will “make work pay”, but the commission says it found evidence that the changes could make it harder for disabled people to remain in work.

Labour has called on the government to postpone the introduction of universal credit by a year, arguing there are too many unresolved problems.

The government reacted sharply to the report, saying it was “highly selective and could result in irresponsible scaremongering”. A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “We inherited a system of disability support which is a tangled mess of elements, premiums and add-ons, which is highly prone to error and baffling for disabled people themselves.

Source: Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/oct/17/disabled-people-universal-credit-study?CMP=EMCSOCEML657

17.10.2012

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