Safety and security for disabled people

Research from the Commission has found that for many disabled people in Britain, safety and security is a right frequently denied.

" There can be no more important human right than to live life in safety and with security.  Its absence prevents us from living our lives to the full. And, for some, its absence has led to the loss of life itself "

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission

Promoting the safety and security of disabled people - research report

This research, published in April 2009, found that for many disabled people in Britain, safety and security is a right frequently denied. Violence and hostility can be a daily experience - in the street, on public transport, at work, at home, on the web - so much so that many disabled people begin to accept it as a part of everyday life. Disabled people - including those who have not experienced such behaviours directly - are all too often forced to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it, thereby limiting their own lives. If we needed a clear and visible example of the denial of the human rights to freedom in a modern society, this paints an all too vivid picture.

Horrific cases such as the killings of Brent Martin and Steven Hoskin should assault our consciousness as a decent society and daily remind us just how serious a situation this can become if left unchecked. There is a critical need for a preventive strategy, 'nipping in the bud' such attitudes and behaviours before they escalate. We also need to address the wider geographical, social and economic factors identified in our research which can leave disabled people and others at greater risk.

And, crucially, responsibility for change has to be placed in the right hands. It is not the disabled person who creates their own oppression. It is others. As Sir Ken Macdonald so eloquently argued in one of his final speeches as Director of Public Prosecutions, we must overcome a prevailing assumption that it is disabled people's intrinsic vulnerability which explains the risk they face - an assumption unsupported by evidence. At best, this had led to protectionism, constraining rather than expanding the individual freedom and opportunity which greater safety and security should provide. Only by extending the same expectations of safety and security to disabled people as to everyone else can we truly come to address the deficits in our current approach and wake up to the need to act.

We are committed to doing our part to make disabled people's right to safety and security an everyday reality. We call on others to do likewise.

Read then Commission Chair Trevor Phillips' speech at the launch event.

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Read more about our research by using the navigation links or select next to continue.

You can also download the summary report and the full research report.

There is also an Easy Read summary version.

Since this research we have launched an Inquiry into disability related harassment.

Last Updated: 04 Feb 2015