Disablist bullying must be a priority says Mencap
Monday 12 November 2007
Disablist bullying is sidelined by the government according to a major report published today (12 November 2007) by leading learning disability charity, Mencap.
Mencap believes disablist bullying is destroying children's lives, leading to social exclusion in childhood and adulthood. Mencap's new report Don't stick it Stop it! Bullying Wrecks Lives reveals that eight out of ten children with a learning disability are bullied, while six out of ten had been physically hurt.
The charity believes bullying against children with a learning disability is not a priority for government, compared to other types of bullying, such as racist and homophobic bullying.
Peter*, aged 17, recalls: "When I went to school I got bullied really badly. I got bullied at break times by other children at school. They would call me names, spit on me and throw stones and bottles.
"I told my teachers at school and they said that I had special needs so I should get used to it as I would be bullied all of my life. They also told me to stop playing out at break times then I would not get bullied."
Dame Jo Williams, Mencap's chief executive, said: "Despite government recognition of the impact of bullying, we have not seen clear leadership in combating disablist bullying. Mencap's research highlights how big a problem bullying is for children with a learning disability. Bullying results in children missing out on opportunities to learn and make friends, socialise and play, and can affect their development in adult life."
The government is being called upon by Mencap to take the bullying of children with a learning disability as seriously as other forms of bullying. The charity recommends that all schools and children's services record all incidences of disablist bullying and for public bodies to meet their legal duty to promote disability equality and eliminate harassment.
For more information about Mencap's Don't stick it, stop it! campaign and to download and copy of the new report, visit http://www.dontstickit.org/
* Not his real name.
1. Bullying based on a person's disability
2. Five hundred and seven children with a learning disability, aged 8 -19 years, took part in Mencap's bullying survey across the UK. The survey took place between January and March 2007.