The Big Picture Understanding The Wider Impacts Of Disability In Scotland
There is no place in Scotland for any form of prejudice or discrimination. Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We believe that no child or young person should be denied opportunities.
The Equality Act 2010 places a duty upon the Scottish Government to integrate an equality perspective into the everyday work of government. Scotland will be the first nation of the United Kingdom to commence the socio-economic duty section of the Equality Act. This duty will require public bodies to seek to reduce inequalities caused by socioeconomic disadvantage. The new duty should have a positive impact for disabled children, young people and their families, who experience both higher poverty rates and greater social inequality than non-disabled people.
If we are to achieve our aim of full equality and human rights for disabled people in Scotland, then we must take account of all disabled people, including children and young people. We also have to understand how other characteristics such as age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being a Gypsy Traveller can impact on a disabled person’s experiences and use this understanding to shape our actions.
It is important to recognise that people often experience disadvantage because of a combination of protected characteristics. As research by organisations such as the Equality Network indicates, this is not simply something encountered by a “minority of a minority”. Multiple discrimination is a part of many disabled people’s lives, and directly impacts on how they experience and respond to their disability.
What do I do if I am feeling discriminated against?
Disabled children, young people and their families should never expect to experience discrimination. This applies to interactions with public services such as claiming benefits or taking the bus, community life such as visits to the shops or leisure activities, in school and at work. In Scotland, there is an independent Equality and Advisory Support Service who give advice on any type of discrimination. More information in this resource can be found in the SAFETY AND JUSTICE Section.
Child Poverty And Disability
Tackling child poverty is a key priority for the Scottish Government and statistics show that poverty is both a cause and a consequence of disability.
A broad range of actions have already been taken to try to address inequalities in our society: including free school meals for all P1-P3 children; expanding the funded provision of early learning and childcare; an improvement programme to address neglect and enhance wellbeing; and investing to mitigate UK Government welfare reform and support low income families.
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 underpins all Government action, and holds Scottish Ministers to account for their efforts in tackling poverty. The first Child Poverty Delivery Plan was published in March 2018, and will seek to take a cross-Government approach to reducing child poverty.
This resource supports the Poverty Delivery Plan by helping families to be more aware of FINANCIAL SUPPORT available to them to assist with the financial implications of caring for a disabled child. Similarly, the Delivery Plan specifically identifies disability as a key area for the Scottish Government to continue to target support measures. Only through such coordination will we effectively remove those barriers which prevent families from moving out of poverty.
Where can I find out more about poverty and inequality in Scotland?
The Scottish Government has established a Poverty and Inequality Commission. The Commission will provide independent advice and scrutiny on Government targets and Delivery Plan, as well as wider economic inequalities, and openly hold Scottish Ministers to account on their progress.
Trauma Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse Childhood Experiences ( ACEs) refer to stressful events occurring in childhood including: being the victim of abuse or neglect, or growing-up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems, mental health conditions, domestic violence or criminal behaviour resulting in imprisonment.
Why is it important to understand and confront ACEs?
Traumatic childhood events can create harmful levels of stress which impact healthy brain development — resulting in long-term effects on learning, behaviour and health.
There are a wide range of policies and practices implemented in Scotland to prevent adversity in childhood and mitigate impact. However, there are calls for a greater focus on ACEs across all policies and services. Approaches that are focused on ‘understanding and nurturing’ are advocated, recognising that robust neighbourhoods, systems and services are needed to best support children.
Learning on ACEs is increasingly informing the development of national policy to help people affected by trauma. We acknowledge that more work must be done to gather evidence of the experiences of people living with disabilities who may also face barriers due to their socio-economic status or their childhood experiences.
More information? A Scottish ACE Hub has been established, co-ordinated by NHS Health Scotland, to develop and inform implementation of an action plan to contribute to preventing and responding to ACEs across Scotland.