Disability And Sex: Where Is The Inclusive Sex Education?


Great post and hopefully those that can progress this more will do so.

Same Difference

Asks Emily Yates in today’s Guardian.

I think it is fair to say that the Paralympics have changed perceptions for the better in linking disability and sport. We have become used to watching elite athletes win medals and represent their countries in front of large crowds, and they just happen to use wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs, or be of short stature, or have hearing and visual impairments.

But what happens when we change “sport” to “sex”? Does awareness and education exist in the same way?

Inclusive and accessible sex education certainly did not exist when I was at school – apart from, perhaps, putting a condom on a banana. We are aware that disabled women, in particular, are almost three times as likely to be sexually abused than their non-disabled peers and yet those of us with disabilities are still entering lessons and workshops that are not designed for us…

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CPS set for controversial action on disability hate crime


Original post from Disabled Go News

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Crown-Prosecution-Service-cps

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has issued controversial new guidance on disability hate crime which could cut the number of successful prosecutions, after a senior government barrister concluded that the existing guidelines were unworkable.

Disability News Service (DNS) understands that CPS and senior police officers believe that it has been almost impossible to persuade a magistrate or judge that a crime was motivated partly by hostility towards disabled people.

This means that few offences receive the increased sentences given to crimes accepted by the courts as disability hate crimes.

Disability News Service (DNS) has been reporting on the criminal justice system’s failings on disability hate crime since 2009, while the police, prosecutors and probation service – and other agencies, including the courts – have repeatedly been urged to improve.

Under section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the courts must increase the sentence for any offence where a defendant has demonstrated hostility towards disabled people, or where the offence has been shown to be motivated by hostility.

The previous CPS guidance argued that this “reflects the significant impact hate crime has on the victim and on the community”.

But following a report by a senior government barrister, which was critical of the current system, DNS understands that offences will now only be treated as disability hate crimes by police and prosecutors if they are clearly motivated by disability-related hostility.

But this is likely to be controversial – and to split opinion among hate crime campaigners – as it could easily lead to fewer successful hate crime prosecutions.

Under the new guidelines, to be published today (Friday), courts are more likely to treat disabled victims of violence and abuse as “vulnerable” rather than as victims of hate crime.

This could still result in a stricter sentence – on the grounds that the victim was in a vulnerable situation – but could be seen as a significant step backwards in the long fight for recognition that disabled people are frequent victims of hate crime.

And the sentence uplift for “vulnerability” is likely to be lower than that for a disability hate crime.

A CPS spokeswoman said the new guidance “encourages the use of section 146 where possible, and reminds prosecutors that where an application for an uplift under section 146 is not appropriate, the vulnerability of a victim due to their disability may still make an offence more serious and so prosecutors should present the case in a way which enables the judge to reflect this in sentencing.

“A nationwide training programme for all lawyers is also being planned and is a sign of our commitment to tackling this nasty crime.

“Hate crime continues to be a key priority for the CPS and we are committed to continue applying for sentence uplifts wherever the evidence and the law allows.”

She said that she could not comment on the government barrister’s advice, and added: “Whenever the CPS seeks legal advice, the content of that advice is always confidential.”

Stephen Brookes, one of the coordinators of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said the new guidance was “not ideal” but was “a step forward in one way”.

He said he was “not massively disappointed”, and added: “Nobody used [section 146] because nobody knew how to use it.

“It is going to lead to more successful section 146s, but more importantly it is going to lead to better prosecutions at the vulnerability level.

“It’s a better solution because it takes out some of the mud from what we have got. At least it provides some clarity.”

But another coordinator of the network, journalist and author Katharine Quarmby, who has played a key role in raising awareness of disability hate crime over the last eight years, warned that the new emphasis on “vulnerability” could be a backward step.

Even if crimes receive a higher sentence because of the victim’s “vulnerability”, she said the effect of declaring an offence a disability hate crime was crucially important.

And she said that offences often start off with criminals grooming a disabled person who has found themselves in a vulnerable situation – perhaps because of a lack of support – but end up as hate crime.

Quarmby – author of a pioneering book on disability hate crime, Scapegoat – pointed to the case of Kevin Davies, a young disabled man who was befriended, and then held captive in a locked garden shed for nearly four months, fed scraps of food, and humiliated and tortured by his “friends”, while his benefits were stolen.

She said: “They say that it is now crystal clear what a disability hate crime is, as opposed to a ‘vulnerability’ crime.

“They are convinced that they will know a section 146 crime and therefore they will immediately leap to ask for section 146 to be imposed.

“I am sceptical. I think we still don’t get away from a blurring of the boundaries. Cases start as one thing and turn into another, a point made by Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, who was the first head of the CPS to take the issue seriously.”

CPS has promised to review the effectiveness of the new guidance early next year.

In May, a report by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Inspectorate of Probation concluded that the police, CPS and probation service had failed to implement recommendations they had made in 2013 on dealing with disability hate crime.

The 2013 report, Living in a Different World, said the criminal justice system had let down victims, pointing out how failings across the system helped lead to some of the most notorious disability hate crimes, including the deaths of Francecca and Fiona PilkingtonDavid Askew and Michael Gilbert.

For a collection of DNS news stories about disability hate crime, visitwww.longcaresurvivors.co.uk

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author   …….’

Children in care, extending age cut off


Improved Child care?

This will be an improvement or is it and if it is, is it far enough. For children that are still in touch with a parent, in most cases this parent is for and with them for the life of that parent, whether the children are still at home or have gone to find their own independence. Parental responsibility* is for life, even if not legally required to be.

For children, who have no parent to respond to they are still vulnerable **to the pressures of  life forces and so up to 18 there are areas to provide these facilities, care homes, fostering*, etc. to minimise the risk to vulnerable factors, whether it is good or bad, it is there. But after 18 or the proposed 21, there is no one and these adult children may still be vulnerable, whether they feel so or not. While legally they are not classed as now being vulnerable, they have missed, though no fault of their own a valuable component of life building though their childhood years.

Independence is good, but should there not be a fall back for all?

Yes, this could be classed as a furtherance of the ‘Nanny State‘ or is it just equalising the responsibility for all children.

It is said that children who have no parents are more likely to fall to vulnerable risks and be at a disadvantage at the start of their adult life. Whether this is true is open to debate, as their own will to succeed in life will have a bearing on how they progress. But this could be said of anyone and people fail or succeed no matter what their childhood background was. But if there are no parents or supposed persons of responsibility to contact, surely this, for some, will be a factor that will not be advantageous to their continued development.

It will be a cost factor that continued safeguarding is not progressed into adult life, but for those who for one reason and another do not succeed, there will be costs related, being it to the NHS, other council departments, the Justice system and others.

This, in some way, has a bearing on adults who are still viewed as being vulnerable, being adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues and the elderly. Here many costs are involved with ensuring a reasonable life, but in the current climate the money available to undertake these costs is reducing due to Central Government austerity cuts to Local Authority grants and Local Authorities passing on these in the reduced budgets available to fund a reducing service, irrespective of accessed needs, which both in the short and long-term outcomes have a reflection on their quality of life.

This, however is leading to an even greater discussion, which will be the subject of a further post.

* Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

** Open Government Licence

Cuts and more cuts to Social Care


Deeper cuts to Social Care Budgets

Many, if not all councils are making cuts which will affect frontline services and some of these will reduce the amount of care being given or made available to some of the most vulnerable adults in the UK.

Many of these adults are reliant solely on their council funded care packages, as their disability benefits are used to fund other essential daily living costs, such as food, heating and other costs.

Some may have family carers, but these carers are already providing care to the limit of their resources. There is no slack for them to do more. many of the carers, themselves are aged and after many years of caring, their health as or is beginning to deteriorate.

The effects of any of these cuts will enhance the health deteriorisation of both family carers and those being cared for. This will, create many safeguarding issues and will further stretch the resources of both the NHS and Social Services.

Thereby creating a much greater funding crisis.

While I do not begrudge the ‘ring fenced’ money for Overseas Aid, thereby safeguarding the vulnerable overseas, but why can not the same be given to the vulnerable of the UK.