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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 11:41 GMT
Clampdown on bullying of disabled
Pupil and teacher - generic
Victims ranged from school children to adults, the survey found
A council in North Yorkshire has launched a scheme to tackle the abuse of people with learning disabilities.

A survey by Richmondshire District Council last year revealed widespread bullying in the community, ranging from name-calling to physical attacks.

It also found that many victims did not know how to report the abuse.

On Tuesday, the council will unveil a "Keeping Safe" pack which tells people with learning disabilities how to inform the authorities of "hate crime".

The pack is also aimed at raising awareness among public sector workers who may come into contact with the victims of abuse.

Legal advice

It has been funded by the Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership (RCSP) which is made up of representatives from health trusts, social services, the police and other agencies.

RCSP chairman Liz Smith said: "We are delighted to support this project, one of the first of its kind, specially focused to help people with a learning disability to report incidents of bullying and abuse.

"A survey last year by the Hambleton and Richmondshire Learning Disability Partnership Board provided clear evidence of the types of bullying experienced by people with a learning disability."

The pack includes a reporting form, information about laws regarding bullying, harassment and hate crime, plus a personal safety card.

Information collected will be stored on a database to help the council formulate policies to address the issue.

It will dispel the myth that putting up with harassment is just another part of having a learning disability
Dave Hendy, learning disabilities nurse

"It's difficult to say how many people with a learning disability are victims, as incidents generally go unreported to the official authorities", said Mark Humble, lead officer for Richmondshire Learning Disability Partnership Board.

"However, people are telling us that it is a real issue for them, and can result in them being unable to leave their homes for fear of being abused.

"In a meeting last year attended by 60 people with a learning disability, all of them had a story to tell about being bullied or harassed because they were different."

Dave Hendy, learning disabilities lead nurse with North Yorkshire & York Primary Care Trust, said: "This pack will also help family and carers, as it sets out what they should do to report an incident of bullying.

"It will dispel the myth that putting up with harassment is just another part of having a learning disability."


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