HEAR MY VOICE…….SEPTEMBER 2014
It’s obvious…….isn’t it?
That people with a learning disability should be treated with the same respect as everybody else? That people with a learning disability should have the same quality of healthcare, education and support in life as anyone else?
But……they don’t always get it.
Back in March I travelled around the country with the fabulous team from MENCAP, to take photographs for their ‘Hear My Voice’ campaign. We listened to stories told by people who have a learning disability and also stories from friends and families of those with a learning disability.
We heard stories from people like Kelly, who has been the victim of bullying for many, many years. If we or our children had to deal with some of the abuse and torment that she had gone through, we would have expected the police to have taken it seriously.
But, because she has a learning disability, somehow the police view her abuse as less important.
Words like ‘retard’ or ‘mong’, which are starting to creep back in to the playground, are seen as ‘funny’ and harmless, but, these are not affectionate terms, they are terms of abuse and it is a quick step from the playground to use on the street.
Over half of disabled people in the UK have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their disability. In the last two years there were 124,000 disability hate crimes. Only 1% resulted in prosecutions.
Kelly is harassed daily and the police tell her to “just ignore it.” Would you……just ignore it?
You can see Kelly’s story HERE:
Mencap Manifesto HERE:
Or, Simon who had spent 15 months at the notorious Winterbourne View where he was abused and neglected. Or, Jayne and Jonathon, whose brother Paul died of neglect in hospital, because his life wasn’t valued.
Every year 1,200 people with a learning disability die avoidably in the NHS. People like Paul.
Mencap work in partnership with people with a learning disability, and all their services support people to live life as they choose.
People with a learning disability aged 18 or over have the same legal rights and freedoms as anyone else and that includes the same right to vote. In the 2015 general election we will all decide who will run our country for the next five years.
Now, there are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK and millions more who are connected to them in someway and that is a huge amount of people who have the chance to speak up together and tell our future mp’s what matters!