A Letterkenny disability campaigner has been gaining attention for his research into links between disability and hate crime.
Well-known campaigner, Frank Larkin, is now set to travel to Poland and France to present a talk on his research at a major International conferences.
Frank recently completed a qualification in disability studies and focused his attentions on the links between being disabled and rise in hate crimes against them during recessionary times.
“I was at a conference in Brussels about how austerity has impacted on disability services and one of the findings was that in times of austerity there is a huge rise in disability hate crime. I thought “Gosh, I haven’t heard much about it, as much as I am involved with the disability sector”. Then, whenever I got the chance to do the disability studies course I thought I would explore this more. That’s why I chose to do it.”
Frank says the research was rewarding but reveals a widespread problem. He says: “It is a fascinating subject and it is unbelievable how wide spread it is.”
Frank says he is still waiting the final detail of his participation at the events but both are set to take place in September.
“I know that the two day meeting will focus on the experiences of human rights defenders, challenges in doing such human rights work, so there will be a wide range of human rights defenders present. The aspect I am attending as Chairperson of Donegal Centre for Independent Living and representing the European Network on Independent Living is because of the essays I have done on Disability Hate Crime for my Higher Certificate in Disability Studies,” he said.
A 2012 survey showed a deterioration in attitudes to people with a disability in comparison to a study that was carried out pre the economic crisis. The findings of the same survey also included that one in five people would object if a child with an intellectual disability was placed in the same class as their child, this figure has risen from 8% in 2006.
Other attitudes in the survey’s findings portrayed the view that people with disabilities were not able to participate in society because of their disability rather than society recognising that the nonparticipation of people with disabilities is more to do with the attitudinal and environmental barriers they face.