Charity works with police to curb disabled people’s anxiety

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Digital image of rights curbs disabled people's anxiety during lockdown 

7th May 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Learning disability charity Enable Scotland has teamed up with the police and Scottish Government to reassure its members about their rights during the coronavirus lockdown.

The charity has made a digital image – clearly stating the right of people who have a learning disability to exercise outside more than once a day when they need to – freely available to download from its website.

The image references the latest Scottish Government guidance, is endorsed by Police Scotland, and can be saved on smartphones by people who have a learning disability, their family members or carers to show if challenged.

The charity says that many of the people it supports have found the lockdown rules stressful, especially if leaving home for regular exercise several times a day is an important part of their routine and coping strategies.

catch-ups with members that a major source of anxiety for many of them is the fear of being challenged by police officers when out exercising.

“So our members suggested this handy smartphone image, and along with its endorsement by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government, it means our members will feel more secure and comfortable about going outside to exercise – which not only helps them stay healthy physically, but is also really important for their mental health at what is an especially challenging time for everyone.”

Clare Haughey, minister for mental health, said: ““This screen image is a really simple and clear way to assist individuals who need time to get outside for exercise to be able to explain, if asked, why they are outdoors.”

David Duncan, chief superintendent of Police Scotland’s safer communities division, added: "We have already issued guidance to our officers and staff regarding behaviour, body language and communication while interacting with people who have, or may have, a learning disability.

“We have established relationships with partner organisations and regularly engage with them to ensure our practices, advice and approach to policing our communities take account of the differing needs of the people we serve."

Versions of the image have been designed for iPhone and Android devices, and can be downloaded free of charge from Enable Scotland’s online coronavirus information hub