Four in 10 young people have witnessed bullying of disabled people

2 December 2015

New research we've conducted with The Scout Association shows four in 10 young people have witnessed a disabled person being bullied.

‘I was bullied at secondary school. My so-called friends left a letter on my table explaining that they were only hanging around with me because of my disability perks, and they didn't like me.

‘It continued at university when I was also emotionally abused by a carer. Sadly, I was singled out and targeted because of my disability and it affected my confidence and self-esteem at the time.

‘I have volunteered all my life, and currently help out at a children’s hospital as a radio DJ.

‘There are already lots of young people taking action in their communities, but there’s potential to do more.

‘Helping to raise awareness of bullying, and its affects, would hopefully make someone think twice before saying or doing something hurtful.’— Hannah, 24, Berkshire

Stepping in with A Million Hands

Young ScoutsThe research, carried out by ComRes, also found two-thirds (66%) of young people would be confident enough to step in to help if they saw a disabled person being bullied.

Over eight in 10 (81%) Scouts say they would help if they saw someone in trouble.

A recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission found ‘disabled young people were particularly affected by bullying’.

This research marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2015 and is part of The Scout Association’s ‘A Million Hands’ campaign — enlisting half a million Scouts to volunteer for some of the UK’s biggest charities, including Leonard Cheshire Disability.

‘This gives us great hope for the future. Our research shows nine out of 10 young people know about the daily barriers faced by disabled people and are concerned about their quality of life.

‘We are delighted our partners The Scout Association are supporting young people with knowledge and skills about how they can make a practical difference in their daily lives.

‘The young people are an example of the ongoing legacy from London 2012, and great work done by young people in changing attitudes and raising awareness in Britain today.’— Clare Pelham, chief executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability

A Million Hands

A Million HandsScouts chose to focus on disability as part of ‘A Million Hands’ because there is a lot of evidence to show disabled people experience significantly more exclusion than non-disabled people.

Our findings show an overwhelming majority of young people (94% of Scouts and 87% of other young people) are concerned about the quality of life of disabled people.

And they know to ‘some extent’ or a ‘great extent’ the daily barriers faced by disabled people (94% of Scouts and 87% of other young people).

The research from polls of 1,000 young people and 1,005 scouts in the UK between the ages of 12 and 24 found almost three quarters (73%) of Scouts participate in social action at least once every week, compared to just 37% of other young people.

Scout groups will be visiting disabled people at our services in the lead up to Christmas to participate in carol singing, to help out at Christmas fairs and for other festive fun!

‘Young people have the potential to create positive and meaningful social change, and we’re excited to be working with Leonard Cheshire Disability to equip Scouts of all ages with the knowledge and tools to take action to improve the lives of those disabled by society.

‘Our research shows young people engaged in volunteering have a higher awareness and appetite to address challenging issues, and at Scouts we are focused on giving young people the confidence to know they can make a difference in creating a better, more inclusive society.’— Jack Abrey, Chair of The Scout Association’s Community Impact Group

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