The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) is legislation that was implemented with the aim of ending discrimination towards disabled people in terms of services, employment, education etc.
Does this apply to my church?
It certainly does! As service providers, churches have the following obligations:
Not to treat disabled people 'less favourably' for a reason related to their disability - for example, a church should not tell a family not to bring their child with learning disabilities as the child shouts out at inappropriate times. The church should work with the parents to find a solution together.
To make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way the church provides its services (whether these be worship services, house groups, social events, weddings, funerals etc). An example might be to provide large print versions of songs projected onto screen, to help people with sight loss or people who cannot stand to worship. Reasonable adjustments also involves the provision of equipment such as an induction loop system for hearing aid users.
To make 'reasonable adjustments' to physical features to overcome physical barriers for disabled people - for example, by providing ramps where there are steps or providing a wheelchair accessible toilet.
How can we get more help on how the Act affects our church?
A useful publication is the Code of Practice: Rights of Access, Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises. This is published by the Stationary Office, ISBN 0-11-702860-6, and can be ordered from any good bookshop.
What support can TTR provide?
We have produced a pack called 'Removing Barriers' which is a self-assessment resource/questionnaire enabling churches to check a set of measures to see how inclusive their services, activities and programmes are for disabled people.
To order your copy of Removing Barriers, and to see our other useful publications, please go to our online shop.