• Ellis Unchained

How disabled people have been and still are being overlooked in the United Kingdom? By Dan Kay

We think that equality prevails in this world, yet people with disabilities are still overlooked in the United Kingdom. They face discrimination in all aspects of life. Their demands are overlooked, and their legitimate concerns are ignored.

Ignorance of people concerning hate crime against people with disabilities

Many disabled people in the UK are victims of hate crimes. There are still some people who treat them with disrespect, hurting them merely due to their disabilities. When the victims report the "disability hate crime" to the police, they do not pay heed to their concerns and no action is taken against the harassers. According to the statistics issued by the government, out of the 1841 incidents of hate crime reported in 2012-2013, only 349 of them led to convictions. The British police are inefficient in ensuring the safety of people with disabilities, and progress must be made in order to protect these people from insolent acts like hate crime.

Parking spots of disabled people being taken by abled citizens

An array of parking facilities are provided to disabled people throughout the UK. Parking bays that are designed especially for people with disabilities, are wider than the usual ones for greater convenience and comfort. They are situated in "prime" parking areas and are usually adjacent to the entrances of buildings and centres, etc. These parking spots are marked with signs and road markings to highlight that the intended use is for people with disabilities only. Although these spots are for disabled people only, many abled-people take up these parking spots, reducing the space available for their disabled community members. These abled-people make excuses like "I was only there for five minutes " to show that their act was not inappropriate and unethical, even though those parking bays are reserved for disabled people. These people save themselves from being penalised by saying that "it was the first time" they parked in a disabled parking spot. It may be "once" for one person but it’s certainly not the first time a disabled person lost their parking spot. Some people use their temporary injuries or ailments to justify parking in places designed for people with disabilities. Curable injuries due to minor accidents, do not give a person the same right to access the parking bays as people with a permanent and/or incurable disabilities. Although there are penalties for using disabled parking spaces such as fines, and in extreme cases, drivers may get into custody whose fee for release varies according to the operator. People continue to violate these simple rules, creating uneasiness and frustration in disabled people.

Disabled people being "forgotten" in the COVID-19 pandemic

A major proportion of disabled people in the UK, think that their demands have been neglected and that their lives have been forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic; there has been a disproportionate effect of the epidemic on such people. Polling results have revealed that around 65 percent of the people who responded, felt that their rights were adversely affected by COVID-19. A survey conducted by YouGov showed that 7 out of 10 disabled people felt that their requirements have been "overlooked" since the advent of the pandemic. People who received social care and assistance, were unable to perform basic activities such as leaving home, washing, and feeding themselves. 60 percent of such people faced hindrance in accessing at least one crucial item such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), breathing equipment, or routine medication. Findings published by the National Voices' report unravelled that a third of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) faced a delay or cancellation of their medical appointments. A patient with MS mentioned to The Independent that she felt that people with disabilities were "forgotten" during the global health crisis of COVID-19.

People with disabilities are more prone to contracting the COVID-19 virus, experiencing its adverse symptoms. Research conducted by the disabled people charity Mencap, showed that adults suffering from learning disabilities are six times more likely to die than abled-people as a result of the coronavirus. The UK government, although working relentlessly to vaccinate everyone at risk, are still not prioritising disabled people. A father who gave an interview to BBC news, stated that it is "frightening" to wait for his son to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. People with disabilities have been forgotten and ignored during the lockdown, and their needs are still not being fulfilled. The executive director of Mencap, Jackie O'Sullivan, reported that adults with Down Syndrome were a part of the fourth category of COVID-19 vaccination timetable along with able 70-year-olds. People with learning disabilities were included in the sixth category, alongside 16 to 65-year-olds. What is unfair is the fact that disabled people are more likely to die than able-people, yet they are given the same priority when it comes to vaccination. By Dan Kay

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