By SWAN UK MEMBER AND BLOGGER RACHEL GEORGE - ORDINARYHOPES.COM
How badly do some places want to keep disabled people out? How much will they spend to do so? Will it be more than it would cost to just enable us to come in?
These are the questions currently going through my mind.
My son is eleven years old and a full time wheelchair user.
His wheelchair enables him.
He is, however, often entirely disabled by facilities.
It is no secret that I am exploring the option of legal action to ensure that my son has equal access to everyday life. We have a couple of cases currently in progress and I admit to feeling scared to go ahead.
But I am not scared of the process, and I am not afraid of losing. We have an experienced legal team who would not go ahead unless they were confident.
I am scared because these places might just be prepared to spend more money in court defending their choice to not improve access than it would have ever cost them to simply improve it.
How awful would that be?
The Equality Act states that there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments if a person is placed at a substantial disadvantage because of disability compared to non-disabled people or people who don’t share that same disability. ‘Substantial’ is defined as being ‘more than minor or trivial.’
When my disabled son cannot go to the same places as his brother, simply due to facilities, or when he cannot stay all day like his brother can, he feels that he is at a substantial disadvantage.
Equality should matter to us all.
What kind of society do we have when big businesses are prepared to battle in court to not make simple changes which would enable access for future generations of disabled people?
Would I ever want to take my son to those places which would rather spend their money keeping him out than welcoming him in?
I am scared that I might see just how badly these places don’t want to enable disabled people to have full access.
And that is truly scary.
Children should not be scared to go out.
But unless we challenge things, nothing will ever change.
So I will face my fears in the hope that future generations will not have to.