On November 18 Kevin Healey was invited to take part in an accessible Question Time Panel for people with learning disabilities and autism. It was organised by the UK charity, Dimensions, who support people with learning disabilities and autism. The event took place at Portcullis House, Westminster, London and coincided with Parliament Week.
The Question Time Panel was chaired by Pete Le Grys, an accessibility expert and Director of Photo Symbols. Panel members included Kevin Healey who is a leading Autism Awareness and Anti Bullying Campaigner, Saba Salman who is a freelance social affairs journalist who writes for the Guardian newspaper and Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
There were 200 people in the audience with a wide range of disabilities. Kevin told Autism Daily Newscast about the event. There was a series of four questions put towards the Panel. Kevin told us that the first question aimed towards the Panel was that of, why are some people who have disabilities not protected from Bedroom Tax? Kevin told us:
“The disabled should not be penalised due to being on a low budget.”
Kevin told us that being the literal person that he is he answered with a firm.
“No, that the current ones are not.”
The Panel then started to discuss issues surrounding the police and disability and whether the police need more training in understanding disability and helping those who are disabled, especially with regards to disability hate crime aimed towards the disabled. Kevin told us:
“The police need more training especially about hare crime issues towards disabled people and especially those who are autistic”
Kevin highlighted that a member of the audience voiced their concerns about people with learning disabilities and autism having to deal with the police about hate crime issues. Kevin answered by saying that he is at the moment tying to change the law surrounding this issue.
As it is Anti Bullying Week this week, Kevin used the event to highlight his campaign in which he is fighting for laws to be put in place to protect autistic individuals from online cyber bullying and hate crime.
On January 24 in Parliament the 2nd stage of the EDM 172, Hate Crime Against Those with Autism, will be put forward by Ian Mearns MP. This has the backing of 104 MP’s. Kevin also has the support of Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion who with the backing of the National Autistic Society (of whom Kevin is a trustee) is hoping to raise the issue with a cross-party Written Parliamentary Declaration.
Mr Bennion is quoted as saying:
“I have been working with Kevin Healey to extend the campaign against internet bullying of autistic people to the European Parliament. Bullying is now a particular problem online where perpetrators can be anywhere, so we need an international approach.”www.kevinhealey.net
Kevin is still campaigning for laws to be changed in order to protect vulnerable autistic adults from hate crime. He has been trying for the past 6 months to get his views aired on LBC’s (London’s Biggest Conversation) Nick Clegg phone in radio show. But so far has been unsuccessful. Kevin has tweeted:
“been trying to get on for months to ask nick clegg #callclegg why won’t he meet me to discuss bullying #antibullyingweek”
Kevin received much online support after he posted this tweet with one supporter of the campaign, Leo Andrade Martinez tweeting:
“you might know or have family members with autism. Bite the bullet and please talk to Mr Kevin Healey.”