wheelchair user approaching two police officers

Background to the disability-related harassment inquiry


In 2009, the Commission conducted research into the safety and security of disabled people.

The research findings included:

  • Disabled people are at greater risk of experiencing violence than non-disabled people.
  • Disabled children and young people and disabled women, particularly those with learning disabilities, are particularly at risk.
  • Ongoing low-level incidents are widespread and may go undetected but may escalate at some point. These incidents are often ignored by public agencies even though they have a significant impact on disabled people.
  • Disabled people restructure their lives to minimise real and perceived risk to themselves even if they have not experienced targeted violence personally.

The Commission concluded that the emphasis on help and protection underpinning much of existing policy and legislation should be replaced by a focus on justice and redress. When the Commission published this research, in April 2009, we made a commitment to look at what actions public authorities were taking to eliminate disability related harassment and its causes. It was this commitment that led us to announcing our intention to conduct a formal inquiry.

Read on to find out about:

The Disability Harassment Inquiry was related to the Disability Equality Duty, which has now been superseded by the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).

Last updated: 30 May 2017