Topic: Disability Discrimination
Question: People with a disability face lots of discrimination. Is this

Format: A report

This investigation explores whether people with a disability experience
discrimination. Disability is the "restriction or lack (resulting from an
impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner considered
normal". Research, including a survey of teenagers, an interview with a
teacher who works with disabled students and an internet search, revealing
statistics and case studies, provides evidence to support the conclusions.
The likelihood of an Australian suffering from a disability is high. 19% of
Australia's population has a disability, often a consequence of aging. Data
collected reveals that the attitudes of society, followed by access and
mobility as the most significant factors relating to discrimination.
Difficulties are encountered by most disabled people when seeking
employment although they have positive attitudes and above-average safety
and attendance records. When employed into mainstream employment the
overall staff atmosphere is improved. Disabled children also experience
discrimination within schools. Society plays a major role in the way
disabled people are treated because many people in the community are
unaware of the disabilities of others therefore unknowingly discriminate
against them. The report concludes that it is vital for everyone to
understand the definition of a disability, know what constitutes as
disability discrimination, and the effects of a disability on the

Word count 200

1.0 Introduction

Many disabled people reside within society and lead everyday lives.
Disabilities are sometimes noticeable, while other disabilities are unknown
to others. Due to society's lack of disability awareness, many disabled
people experience incidents of discrimination. It is crucial for society to
understand what is defined as a disability and disability discrimination,
who is affected; the barriers disabled people face, employment and
education issues, as well as how society is helping.

2.0 Defining Disability and Discrimination

The term disability is commonly misused. There is a difference between
impairment, disability and handicap. Impairment is "any loss or abnormality
of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function", such
as vision or hearing. Disability is the "restriction or lack (resulting
from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner
considered normal". Examples of disabilities include difficulty in seeing
and completing everyday activities such as eating. Handicap, is a
"disadvantage ...that limits ... the fulfillment of a role normal for that
individual", for instance people who are confined within the house, are
unable to use public transport are socially isolated (United Nations 1999).

3.0 The Effects of Disability Discrimination

There are four categories of disability discrimination; direct and indirect
discrimination, discriminatory questions and harassment result in a variety
of effects. Direct discrimination is when a person is treated less
favorably than others. Indirect discrimination is an unfair exclusion based
on a condition a disabled person has. Another form of discrimination is
harassment, which involves behaviour that offends, humiliates or
intimidates. (A Guide to the Disability Discrimination Act 1997).

The likelihood of an Australian suffering from a disability is high. The
Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 3.6 million Australians, 19%
of the population had a disability. The main factor affecting the
possibility of suffering from a disability is age. Older Australians are
more at risk. (ABS 1999).

Experiencing discrimination has an effect on the individual and their
family, financially, physically, psychologically, on self-esteem and in
everyday life. There was one case of disability discrimination where a
disabled boy who had Down syndrome was denied life insurance by AMP and his
parents took action to Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commission. The case
resulted in an apology from AMP, a confidential settlement and the family
of the child suffering distress. (Whinnett 2003).

Some other effects of discrimination may include the failure to provide
special assistance or equipment such as a lift in a building or refusal of
service, for example not letting a guide dog into a restaurant with the
owner. This type of discrimination is against the law but some other types
of discrimination may be less obvious.

4.0 Barriers that Disabled People Face

Even though there are laws in place, people with disabilities face
barriers. There was a National Hotline for disabled people to telephone and
identify barriers. The data collected showed that 55% of callers specified
their main barrier as the attitudes of society, followed by access and
mobility. Other barriers included knowledge of where to obtain information
about services (Evaluation of the Commonwealth Disability Strategy 1999).
In the survey conducted on non-disabled high school students, the following
graph represents their view on the barriers disabled people have.

The main issues disabled people have to overcome as
believed by senior high school students


The Office of Disability also identified people with disabilities