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 Discrimination

A third of Britons think people with learning disabilities cannot live independently or do jobs

Rachel Williams

Wednesday 14 July 2010 11.18 BST

Discrimination against people with learning disabilities and misconceptions about their lives is still widespread in the UK, despite a string of high profile hate crime cases, a poll reveals today.

A third of Britons think those with such disabilities cannot live independently or do jobs, while almost a quarter imagined they would be living in care homes. Nearly one in ten (8%) expected them to be cared for in a secure hospital out of town.

There was however also a high awareness of the challenges facing the learning disabled. Nine out of ten of those questioned for Turning Point, a leading health and social care provider, thought they experienced discrimination, and more than half (51%) thought they were the most discriminated against group in society — coming above other groups often perceived to experience discrimination, including gay people (44%), overweight people (43%) and ethnic minorities (40%).

Hate crime against those with learning disabilites — of whom there are 1.5 million in the UK — has hit the headlines repeatedly in recent months.

Last autumn an inquest heard how Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her teenage daughter Francecca — who had a mental age of four — after apparently being driven to despair by the continued abuse her family had suffered.

The survey of 1,100 adults also revealed a lack of knowledge about what constitutes a learning disability. A third thought mental illness was a learning disability, and a quarter classified dementia as one.

Read in Full:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/14/discrimination-learning-disabilities



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