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'She called me handicapped and spat in my face': Abuse faced by Irish people with intellectual disabilities

Workshops are being held in Dublin to help people with intellectual disabilities deal with bullying behaviour.

I was coming home from work on the bus one evening. I was sitting on a seat on my own minding my own business and this woman got on and started shouting abuse at another passenger. I went up to tell the bus driver and he said could not put her off. I went back to my seat and then she started at me. She called me “handicapped” and spat in my face. I made a complaint but I haven’t heard anything back yet.

THIS IS JUST one example of abuse or bullying faced by an Irish person with an intellectual disability.

Though the majority of people would know this kind of behaviour is unacceptable, many people with disabilities still report suffering discrimination and in particular jeering from teens.

I used to run in the park, I loved it; it was my favourite thing to do in the evenings. But I had to give it up. A bunch of teenagers started to run after me and jeered at me, calling me all sorts of names, I told them to stop but after a while I just gave up. I told the gardaí but they didn’t do anything.

A series of workshops are to be held at  Dublin City University (DCU) to tackle the issue of bullying of people with intellectual disabilities. The workshops will be driven by victims of this kind of abuse.

For service users, these workshops aim to provide a safe platform where participants can share their ideas and experiences, learn strategies on how to deal with bullying behaviours and be in a position to share these learnings with others who they work or live with.

shutterstock_225978295 Stock photo Source: woman image via Shutterstock

The workshops are also aimed at those working in support services to help them address these issues.

 There is a boy in my youth club that always makes faces at me. He does this to annoy me and upset me on purpose. I get upset and start giving out and I get in trouble and I get the blame.

These workshops are being run by the National Anti-Bullying Centre in DCU and facilitated by Fiona Weldon who has experience of disablement herself.

She said almost all participants that have taken part in previous experiences have reported that bullying is “endemic in both the services they use and in the communities they live in”.

“Moreover, they have said that they feel that they are not listened too and when they do report a bullying incident to the people that support them they are not taken seriously.”

Read: A care home for those with intellectual disabilities has been de-registered following an inspection>

Read: Residents at disability centre locked in unit because of staff shortages>

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