Hostility towards disabled on the rise, research shows

Disabled people believe that public attitudes towards them have worsened in the past year, according to new research.

More than half said they had experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment, according to a survey commissioned by disability charity Scope.

That is despite 41 per cent of the British public saying they have not witnessed discrimination. The study found almost three in five disabled thought people did not believe they were genuinely impaired, while half said people presumed they were not working.

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Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said: "Much of the welfare reform debate has focused on disabled people as benefit scroungers, and many disabled people feel this has led to the public being more sceptical about disability issues and more hostile to those who receive welfare support."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "Our commitment to help support disabled people to live independent lives runs at the heart of our welfare reforms."