Disabled people in England and Wales are now almost three-and-half times more likely than non-disabled people to be a victim of serious violent crime, according to new research that has been described as “a wake-up call to politicians”.The new analysis of official crime figures by the charity Victim Support also shows people with a “limiting” illness or impairment are twice as likely to be victims of violent crime without injury, and 1.6 times more likely be a victim of personal theft.While violent crime has fallen by almost half for non-disabled people over the 10 years to 2015-16, over the same period the proportion of disabled people with limiting impairments who were victims of violence increased by 3.7 per cent.In 2005-06, non-disabled people were at greater risk of falling victim to violent crime than disabled people, but since 2011-12, the proportion of people with a limiting disability or illness who suffered violence has overtaken the proportion of non-disabled people.One leading disabled activist, and a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, Anne Novis (pictured), said she believed the rise in violence against disabled people was closely connected to the demonization and blaming of disabled people for the economic crisis.She said: “When a certain section of society is demonised as being the sole cause for the economic woes of a country, just like we are seeing with immigrants, then it’s like painting a bulls-eye upon us. We become the targets for all sorts of abuse, harassment and violence.“Having to never go out alone, minimise my presence so I do not attract notice, avoid public transport, always carry a panic alarm, train my PAs on how to protect me and address hostile situations, setting up a self-defence pilot… all come about due to mine and others’ perception and expectation of hostility and possible violence.”She added: “It’s not always about us being deemed an easier target, or being vulnerable, it’s the perception that as such we ‘cost’ more, get more benefits, help, special cars, etc.“And as such we ‘cost’ too much, are a ‘burden’ and ‘unsustainable to support’; these are the words of government ministers, used to justify the cruellest of cuts targeting those least able to fight them.”Novis said the time when violence against disabled people was rising over the last six years – 2010-12 and from 2014 onwards – appeared to coincide with the periods when ministers were making most use of so-called “benefit scrounger rhetoric” to try to blame disabled benefit claimants for the government’s deficit.She said: “The language of hate and blame towards us from those who should be the ones who protect, continues to encourage derogatory abuse and criminal acts against disabled people.”She said the research highlighted yet again the need for “perpetrator analysis” to show “what prompts and ‘gives permission’ for such acts”.Stephen Brookes, another coordinator of the network, said that ministers – including the chancellor, George Osborne – MPs and right-wing media were all responsible for such rhetoric.He said the report showed “what sadly we have known for years and many (including a lot of police forces) have tried to ignore, that disabled people are an easier target in every way”.He added: “Of course, the portrayal of disabled people either and only as scroungers, or alternatively as poorly defenceless and incapable of self-protection, adds to the mix.”The report, An Easy Target?, warns that the figures are likely to under-estimate the extent of violence and theft experienced by disabled people, as they were drawn from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which does not cover institutions or group homes.It also says that the proportion of such crime that falls into the category of hate crime “is difficult to establish, largely due to low reporting rates and a lack of awareness amongst police, criminal justice professionals and even disabled people themselves as to what constitutes a hate crime”.It warns that “neither health, social care or criminal justice professionals have the expertise and solutions necessary to start addressing the risk and tackling the causes of offending against disabled people”, so more research is needed “both into the causes of the increased victimisation of disabled people and how disabled people can be better protected”.The campaigning journalist and author Katharine Quarmby, author of the ground-breaking book Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People, which investigates disability hate crime, carried out a small survey of 100 victims of disability hate crime last year on behalf of the hate crime network.When asked why they had been targeted, many mentioned changes to disability benefits.She wrote in Scapegoat that in times of economic hardship, people look for someone to blame.Quarmby, another DHCN coordinator, said: “Sadly, at the moment in the UK, one target group is disabled people (other target groups include refugees and economic migrants).“We should learn from the lessons of history, otherwise we repeat them. Political leaders, in particular, should be very careful not to blame particular groups for economic hardship, nor penalise them at times of trouble as it allows some in society free rein to turn against them.“Sadly, the Victim Support report seems to suggest that this may be happening, right now, in the UK.“The time-frame of the significant rise in the reported violent crime against disabled people corresponds directly to a time when disability benefit cuts were being accompanied by hostile rhetoric against disabled people who were being described as ‘scroungers’ and ‘fakers’.“I welcome the report as a wake-up call to all of us – and to politicians in particular.”Novis, who is also the independent chair of the Metropolitan police’s disability hate crime working group, said: “Until we have equality of access to hate crime law, funding to disabled people’s organisations to support victims and raise awareness, a consistent ‘zero tolerance’ message from those who represent us in government, we will continue to be the ones who others target because they get away it.”A Home Office spokesman said: “Any violent crime is cause for concern and can have a devastating impact on the victim.“That is why our modern crime prevention strategy includes action to tackle a range of crimes – including violent crime.“We also know disability hate crime is a serious issue which affects a considerable number of disabled people and their families each year.“The UK has one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to protect people from hostility, violence and bigotry.“Later this year we are publishing a hate crime action plan to drive forward action against all forms of hate crime.”
The speaker of the House of Commons must “take a stance” on calls for new laws that would allow candidates to stand jointly for election as job-share MPs, according to the disabled president of the Liberal Democrats.Baroness [Sal] Brinton spoke out in frustration at the lack of progress in pushing for a measure that should lead to more disabled people and more women in parliament.She said: “There is still a structural problem in the way the Westminster bubble thinks about the role of an MP, and until the speaker takes a stance on it – because it’s got to be non-political – we are unlikely to make progress. But we will continue to fight for it.”Both the Greens and the Liberal Democrats have endorsed the idea of job-share MPs, and the Lib Dems included it in their last general election manifesto.Baroness Brinton (pictured) said: “We are in favour of job-sharing for MPs. We are in favour of it for more than just women.“We are very clear that job-sharing for MPs is very important for people who have disabilities.”She points out that the Speaker’s Conference, which reported in 2010 and was chaired by John Bercow, the speaker, did not mention job-share MPs in its 71 conclusions and recommendations, despite making a string of other recommendations for increasing parliamentary representation from under-represented groups including disabled people.And she said there had been “considerable debate” on the issue in parliament since 2010.The high-profile nature of that debate was further heightened by the election of Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley as job-sharing co-leaders of the Green party this summer.Bercow will look again at issues around the diversity of parliament this autumn when he chairs a Commons reference group on representation and inclusion.That group will consider The Good Parliament, a report written by Professor Sarah Childs, from the University of Bristol, and published in July.Childs’ research saw her “embedded” full-time in the House of Commons for eight months, with an advisory board chaired by Bercow.But her report makes no mention of job-sharing MPs – despite a high-profile court case in July 2015 in which two Green party activists argued that they should have been allowed to fight a seat jointly at the general election – apart from a footnote to a brief point made in one of its appendices.That footnote says that she will be publishing a pamphlet on job-sharing MPs, which she says will be published later this autumn.A spokeswoman for Bercow said in a statement that it was “well known that the speaker is keen to increase diversity within the House”, but she added: “It is not for a speaker – who in order to chair proceedings in the Commons impartially must remain neutral – to either advocate for or argue against legislation on this or any other matter.”She said that the issue of job-sharing MPs “may be a proposal that the group chooses to examine in further detail”.But she declined to ask Bercow whether he would ensure the issue was discussed by the reference group.Childs declined to say why there was no discussion of job-sharing in her report, whether Bercow had any influence over its content as chair of the advisory board, or whether she would ensure that her pamphlet was passed to the reference group when it was published.Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, which campaigns for MPs to be allowed to job-share, said: “Disability Politics UK is looking forward to reading Professor Childs’ pamphlet on job-sharing for MPs.“With a new prime minister who is a self-proclaimed feminist, we hope that there will be progress on this issue.“With the boundary changes leading to a reduction in constituencies, job-sharing could help MPs by enabling them to share seats.“It could lead to a more diverse Commons, and help us get more disabled and women MPs.”
JONNY Lomax, Alex Walmsley, Tommy Makinson, Kyle Amor and James Roby have all been named in the England mid-season squad.They will join up with a 34-man roster for a training camp at Loughborough University from June 15-17 in preparation for the 2014 Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand.England coach Steve McNamara said: “The camp is very important for us and I’m looking forward to working with all the players as a group again.“We have made considerable progress over the last few years by getting together at specific stages of the year and this training camp allows us to build on that progress by spending valuable time together.“It’s been a difficult process putting this squad together because of the sheer number of players who were in contention: there is an enormous amount of talent emerging through the ranks in Super League.“Many of the players in the squad were with us for the World Cup and there are some great additions to the group who will benefit from being in a camp that will focus everyone’s minds on what we need to do to achieve international success.“We have widened the net for this camp and the door remains open for every player in Super League: there are a lot of games remaining between now and the end of the season and a lot of opportunities for players to put themselves in contention for selection.”Squad:Daryl Clark, Craig Huby, Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers), Elliott Whitehead (Catalan Dragons), Leroy Cudjoe, Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), Joe Westerman (Hull FC), Josh Hodgson (Hull Kingston Rovers), Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Kevin Sinfield, Kallum Watkins, Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds Rhinos), Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, James Roby, Alex Walmsley, Kyle Amor (St Helens), Chris Hill, Richard Myler, Stefan Ratchford, Ben Westwood, Chris Bridge (Warrington Wolves), John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Josh Charnley, Liam Farrell, Michael McIlorum, Sean O’Loughlin, Dan Sarginson, Scott Taylor, Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors).
Saints have a rare Saturday afternoon fixture so why not do the game in style with our VIP Hospitality package.Saints qualified for the Quarter Final of the historic trophy, after a tough 22-16 win over the Huddersfield Giants which included tries from Regan Grace, Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama and we will now host Wakefield in one of the stand-out fixtures of the round.Your VIP package includes:Premium padded match seats in the South Stand close to the half way line.Delicious pre-match three-course meal plus a tasting plate with complimentary tea & coffee at half-time.Private cash bar.Professional & vastly experienced lounge compère.Pre-match interviews with Saints’ squad players and legends.Post-match interview with Saints Man of the Match.Complimentary Match Programme for each guest.10% merchandise discount for Saints Superstore (located at the Totally Wicked Stadium) on Matchday, just show your match ticket in store to qualify.Live game will be shown in the Lounge.Post-match Quiz with the prize of a round of drinks for your table courtesy of our partners, Robinsons BreweryCar Parking (for parties of four or more – subject to availability).VIP places are priced at:Adults £55 + VATJuniors £30 + VATFor more information or to book please call 01744 455053 or email [email protected] match tickets are also on sale from the Ticket Office, via 01744 455052 and online here.,VIP places are priced at: