Weston man joins investigation of research into disability hate crime
PUBLISHED: 14:24 06 June 2011 | UPDATED: 17:29 06 June 2011
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's Trailblazers have launched a study following reports of an increase in threatening and unlawful behaviour towards disabled Britons.
Steve Ledbrook, a Trailblazer from Weston, will be taking part in the investigation into disability hate crime.
Steve said: “Almost all of the 300 Trailblazers have a disability themselves.
“We want to work together to find real ways to help young disabled people fight back against intimidation.
“I’ll be speaking to young disabled people in this area about their experiences, about what incidents they would report and about whether they believe people are doing so.”
The campaign will examine how, when and where young people are experiencing hate crime, how offences are currently being dealt with and how to help ensure that serious incidents do not go unreported.
The group plans to work with regional disability organisations, community groups, colleges and through social media to uncover the extent at which young disabled people are being affected and to find ways to tackle it.
The Trailblazers, have campaigned on issues facing young disabled people including higher education, employment, access to leisure facilities and public transport, and set up the first Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled people at Westminster earlier this year.
The group vote to choose the focus of each new campaign, with their hate crime investigation sparked by the bullying, intimidation and verbal abuse of a disabled female student by university security staff last year, and the poor handling of her case by senior staff.
It follows figures released by disability charity Scope which show a marked increase in perceived discrimination against disabled people in the past year.
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers project manager Bobby Ancil said: “Disabled people have received a very raw deal in the media over the past year and the affects of this are becoming clear.
“The Trailblazers will be focusing on the impact on young disabled people specifically, talking to them about what they consider to be hate crime and what experiences they have.
“We hope that this will be the first step towards changing the attitudes of the perpetrators and of young disabled people who do not feel able to report it.”
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle-wasting disease.
It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for more than 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all children and adults affected by muscle disease.