4 Our ambition: Protected rights
Scotland's justice system is equipped to meet the needs of disabled people in a fair and inclusive way. Disabled people are confident that their rights will be protected and they will receive fair treatment at all times.
In the Scotland we want:
- Disabled people to be treated as equal citizens within all elements of the justice and tribunal system, with full access to the physical environment, advocacy and support, information and advice, and communication support.
76. Fees for employment tribunals will be abolished, when we are clear on how the transfer of powers and responsibilities will work. We will consult with disabled people and other equality groups to identify the particular barriers that they face when raising a claim at an Employment Tribunal.
77. We will work with disabled people's organisations and Police Scotland to encourage greater reporting of disability hate crimes and to further the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion.
78. As part of the process of implementing Equally Safe, our strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, we will engage with the disabled people's panel to identify specific actions to support disabled women and girls who experience gender-based violence.
79. We will work together to explore how the justice system could better understand and respond to individuals with autism as they interact as witnesses, victims, suspects or offenders.
80. We will work with partners, including disabled people and the organisations that represent them, to identify negative impacts on disabled people of the current legal aid framework for contributions and develop options for change and make any legislative changes required.
81. From 2016, the seven main criminal justice organisations will publish their most important pieces of information in alternative formats. An online secure website will be developed to provide fully-accessible case information for victims and witnesses.
82. The seven main criminal justice organisations will carry out site audits of their buildings to identify any physical access barriers that need to be removed. This information will be available on each organisation's website from 2016.
'Negative attitudes continue to impact on the lives of disabled people in Scotland. We find that most disabled people have experienced some form of stigma or discrimination. This ranges from relatively minor incidents to more serious cases of harassment and bullying. Shockingly, the number of disability hate crimes reported also continues to increase. Some people feel that attitudes have improved over the years, while others are more sceptical. Certainly, there is still a long way to go to change attitudes.'
Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS)
83. We will continue to work with the Law Society of Scotland to encourage the promotion of specialism in disability discrimination law and will promote awareness of such activity.
84. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service ( SFRS) recognises that those most vulnerable to fires are predominately elderly individuals or people with significant health or mobility issues. SFRS will aim to focus the delivery of its preventative activities, including the Home Fire Safety programme, on those people and will work closely with partners within the health and social care arena to achieve this.
'Scotland wants to be a fairer nation. That won't happen until disabled people have equal access to justice, including access to legal remedies for the discrimination they face. Without it alienation, denial of rights, discrimination and poorer life chances will prevail. Disabled people still face barriers when accessing civil justice remedies including a lack of support and advocacy, a lack of capacity and will in the legal profession and many disabled people and parents of disabled children simply don't have the energy. Perhaps worse of all, there is a strong sense of fear about complaining and taking action in case things get worse. Everyone in Scotland needs equal access to justice and the barriers must go now.'
Project Manager, Independent Living in Scotland
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