Raising awareness among disabled people
Raising awareness of the Convention is very important. The more people know about the Convention and feel confident using it, the bigger the difference it will make. This section will explain how you can raise awareness among disabled people.
Simple things you can do:
- Tell other disabled people in your family, your workplace or your community about this guide and encourage them to read it.
- If you have a website set up webpages that tell people about the Convention – you can use text from this guide to help you. Provide links to the full text of the Convention and some of the useful contacts at the end of this guide.
- If you have a newsletter or write for someone else’s you could use this guide to help you write an article about the Convention.
- If you are part of a group (trade union, disability or other voluntary organisation), suggest your group produces a leaflet about the Convention.
- If you are part of a local access group or disability association or Centre for Independent Living, ask one of the national disability rights groups to send a speaker to your meeting to talk about the Convention with your members. Or do a talk yourself.
Help raise awareness among bodies that deliver public services
If public bodies are aware of the Convention, then they are more likely to understand how to respect the human rights of disabled people.
- Ask your local public bodies (that means your council, local health board or NHS Trust , schools and colleges, police authority, housing associations, day centres, care homes):
- if staff have information about the Convention
- if they have trained staff on the Convention
- what plans they have to look at all their policies and practices to make sure they support the Convention.
Remind them that doing so will help them comply with the Human Rights Act and disability discrimination legislation. Remind them that they could look at this as part of their Equality Duty and that they should involve disabled people.
- Get creative. You could make a short film, write and perform a song or a play or create art based on the rights in the Convention, highlighting the barriers people face. This could help raise awareness among disabled people and get the message home to public bodies.
In 2006 a disabled woman, Sian Vasey, who runs the Ealing Centre for Independent Living wrote a play entitled ‘Flowers for Geeta’ about a disabled woman in a care home who wants to leave and get married. It showed how professionals failed to respect her human rights to marry, decide where to live and who to live with. These are all Convention rights. Staff from the Disability Rights Commission performed it at a big conference for professionals working in health and social care. It was a much better way of getting the message across than just having a meeting with speakers. This is why you should use real-life examples where possible.