|Abuse by carers should be included in Domestic Abuse Bill
Baroness Jane Campbell, supported by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Stay Safe East, is making a strong argument for new clauses to be inserted within the Domestic Abuse Bill, to cover abuse of disabled people by paid and unpaid carers.
Baroness Campbell will tell the House of Lords committee discussing the Bill that relationships between disabled people and paid and unpaid carers should be added to the list of personal connections set out in the Bill. This would enable controlling or coercive behaviours on the part of carers, to be covered by domestic abuse legislation. In addition, such behaviours should be treated as an offence under the Serious Crimes Act 2015.
Baroness Campbell has worked with a number of senior social care and disability discrimination lawyers to draft an official legal opinion.
Baroness Campbell will make the case that there is no other legislation which effectively deals with domestic abuse towards disabled people by carers and that not amending the Bill would constitute discrimination against disabled people.
Disabled People experience high levels of food poverty
Last week, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee heard evidence on problems relating to accessing food. Not surprisingly, those giving evidence highlighted that inadequate benefit levels was the underlying cause of much food insecurity.
Emma Revie from the Trussell Trust said that their data showed that 62% of working age adults using food banks were disabled people.
Anna Taylor from the Food Foundation said that levels of food insecurity were 12% higher for households with a disabled person, whereas pre-pandemic the difference had been 6%.
Fazilet Hadi, DR UK Head of Policy underlined the fact that disabled people on legacy benefits had not received the £20 per week uplift. She said that benefit levels no longer provided a safety net, as they didn’t cover basics such as housing, heating, food and digital inclusion.
Fazilet also referred to the unaffordability of online delivery charges and minimum basket spends and the hostile environment being faced by disabled people in regard to face mask exemptions.
Click here to read the transcripts of the meeting
Click here to watch a video recording of the meeting
Locked Down and Abandoned: Disabled People’s Experiences of Covid-19: new Inclusion London research report
Inclusion London has published its second report on disabled people’s experiences of the pandemic. The report describes how disabled people continue to experience hardship across all areas of life: increasing mental distress, social isolation and loneliness, food poverty, financial difficulties, workplace discrimination, problems accessing healthcare, and unequal access to medicine, vaccines, and social care.
The report makes 12 recommendations including:
- Urgently restoring disabled people’s rights currently open to easements under the Coronavirus Act.
- Ensure the active participation and representation of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) across all Covid-19 planning and recovery work.
- Maintaining the £20 Universal Credit increase, extending this increase to other disability and legacy benefits and increasing rates of Statutory Sick Pay to match living wage equivalents.
- An independent inquiry into the disproportionately high numbers of disabled people’s deaths from Covid-19, including the impact on communities that experience multiple and intersectional discrimination.
Other recommendations cover the need to close the digital divide, action to address the increased level of mental distress, urgent funding to local authorities to ensure disabled people get appropriate social care support, support for disabled people to get and keep good jobs and more health information in accessible formats.
Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at DR UK said:
“This important report by Inclusion London documents the devastating impact that coronavirus has had on all aspects of disabled people’s lives. DR UK fully backs the report’s recommendations. We would urge Government to carefully consider the report, when developing its Disability Strategy.”
Read the full report: Locked Down and Abandoned: Disabled People’s Experiences of Covid-19.
Guidance on Covid-19 testing for personal assistants
The government has published guidance on how personal assistants working in adult social care in England can access weekly Covid-19 testing.
Personal assistants will be eligible for testing if they provide care that requires them to come within 2 metres of an adult over the age of 18 who they support. Personal assistants will be responsible for ordering test kits every 28 days – or an employer can order test kits for their personal assistant.
Click here for more information on eligibility and the process
Get Yourself Active at Home
Are you looking for new ways to get active at home? Get Yourself Active has created a new section on their website to help you to find the resources you need to stay active during this time. On this new section you can find the accessible and inclusive exercise videos created in partnership with Sense and Durham University, which are also available on the Get Yourself Active YouTube channel. There are also a number of other useful resources from partner organisations that have been collated, from videos to downloadable toolkits and worksheets. To view the new Active @ Home section, please click here.
Northern Rail Accessibility Fund
Northern Rail has launched a £250,000 Accessibility Fund where applications for specific projects that will make a positive difference to communities across the north of England.
For the first time, the fund will be led and overseen by the Northern Accessibility User Group (NAUG), an independently chaired pan disability user group, whose membership represents a range of disability groups and charities reflecting the communities served by Northern.
They are currently looking for nominations for projects or schemes that will enable disabled and older people to travel with Northern, by improving the accessibility of Northern trains and stations for the communities it serves across the north.
The Accessibility Fund will consider a wide range of proposals which involve their trains and stations. For more information including details of how to apply, please visit www.northernrailway.co.uk/accessibility-fund
If you would like guidance on how suitable your project might be – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developing a National Disability Strategy: Views and evidence from the EHRC
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a briefing to inform the National Strategy for Disabled People being developed by the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office. The briefing considers the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the deep-seated inequalities experienced by many disabled people which permeate every area of life.
Read more about the EHRC briefing here.