On Sunday 8 November, it was 25 years since the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the first civil rights legislation in the UK relating to disabled people. The DDA came 20 years after legislation outlawing race discrimination and sex discrimination. It is thanks to the disability rights campaigners of the 1980s and 1990s for the fact it came at all.
There is still a lot wrong with the way society treats disabled people, negative attitudes to us persist, inclusive design is not the norm and the benefits, support and services that some of us rely on have been drastically reduced. But none of this should stop us celebrating the DDA and expressing our heartfelt thanks to those who made it possible, the disability rights campaigners and Parliamentarians.
Disability Rights UK is asking What has the DDA done for you? You can email Disability Rights UK at [email protected] and tell them of your experiences.
Disability Rights UK asked disabled colleagues at Disability Rights UK what the DDA has done for them. Below are some of the replies-
- It gave me the right to ask for reasonable adjustments to help me apply for and keep a job.
- It meant I could receive the first pay slip I could read
- It enabled me to get braille bank statements
- It gave me the right to assistance to get on and off trains
- It meant I could stand up against hostility from the public knowing the law was on my side
- It lets me get support at the gym to use the equipment
- It empowers me to ask for accessible health information
- It helped many disabled people to access buses and taxis and to be able to use different means of transport
- It helps me to be able to work and make use of the Access to Work scheme
- It meant that counters in banks and ATM machines had to be installed in a lower (wheelchair accessible) position
- Hospital wards became more accessible to disabled people with more complex physical needs
- It meant that schools had a duty to provide accessible education
- It meant that transport became more accessible – I was no longer expected to travel in the guard’s carriage with some livestock
- It was the ability to see that my hidden disabilities and my mental health condition were not matters to be ashamed of, that others had similar conditions and went about life to the best of their abilities.
You can read more here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/november/what-has-dda-done-you
Many SDN members know their is still a long way to go to get level playing field for all people with disabilities enabling us to be treated equally in society.
A survey for the BBC suggests that two-thirds of disabled people feel they are losing their rights during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicky Campbell asked people what they think has changed since the DDA was passed. You can sign in and listen to the interview here at this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08xvgjn