Disabled people are entitled to exactly the same rights as those without a disability. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which was updated in 1995, is designed to ensure disabled people have equal rights and do not suffer from prejudice or discrimination; this relates to all areas of life, including education, employment and access to public services and facilities.
Rights to Public Services
All public service institutions are obliged by law to offer the same rights to disabled people as to those without a disability; these institutions include hospitals, schools, branches of local government and police forces. The Disability Equality Duty, which was launched in 2006, has also encouraged public sector organisations to actively promote equal rights for disabled people. Facilities and access should also be considered carefully in these public settings; DDA legislation expects settings to be suitably adjusted in order to increase access options, this may include installing hearing loops or ramps for example.
The Disability Discrimination Act also has implications for employers, who are forbidden to make judgements on candidates based on their age, sex, race and whether or not they have a disability. Once a disabled person has been employed the employer is expected to make adjustments in order to make working life more comfortable for their employee; this may involve reassessing the work load and nature of the work, improving accessibility in the workplace and providing any necessary additional support.
Disabled people are entitled to financial support which may be beneficial in the event of an individual not being able to work or requiring additional medical care. Local authority services will be able to advise you as to which entitlements are available and the Government’s DirectGov website has a wealth of information on all the issues mentioned above.
Tackling Bullying and Discrimination
If you feel you are being discriminated against or bullied there are several courses of action that may be taken; citizen’s advice will be able to discuss your issue and suggest relevant action. It is against the law to discriminate and therefore the punishments can be severe. Do not suffer in silence; there are many charities, including the Samaritans and Childline that offer 24 hour anonymous telephone lines. It may also be advisable to take up the issues with your employer or teacher.