C just loves to watch peoples feet as they pass by - he can get very excited much to the shock/horror and amusement of those passing. Their jaws drop to the floor, some stand rooted to the spot as they try and understand what they are seeing. Some trip as they aren’t looking where they are going. And of course you get a range of comments made. To be fair many people do not even notice him and some are very friendly and come over for a chat. C does this everywhere we go. He has a favourite spot in our local shopping centre near the base of an escalator, there is also a cafe where my friend and I catch up over a latte keeping our eyes peeled for any potential trouble, whilst C is in his sensory heaven.
The security guards know us well (as we have been doing this for about 10 years now) and keep an eye on C as in the past there have been the odd incident of small gangs of kids surrounding C. I have become hardened to the comments and the stares but its teenagers filming C on their mobiles that I cannot ignore. And this seems to be happening more often. C seems totally oblivious to it all!But as C is so happy watching feet - he’s not in anyone’s way and keeps himself to him self I am not going to stop him doing this. So what can I do? Any ideas? My friend and I have found if we pretend to film the filmers they soon stop. Last week I actually took a photo of 2 lads thinking I will put it on my blog. But of course that would make me as bad as them - so I haven’t.
I did email my local police to ask if it was illegal to take photos of someone without their consent. And apparently its not!!
"It is not illegal to film or take photos of anyone although if the group of youths are the same group who continue to film your son this could potentially be harassment which is an offence."
So does this mean different youths taking films is not harassment?! I decided to write to a few other organisations to see if anyone could offer advice. And thought I would share the responses, they weren't very helpful but some of the links may be useful to others who are being harassed.
Mencap said Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we are not in a position to advise on this situation, however there are a few organisations I would suggest you approach. You could try the Citizens Advice Bureau . You might also find it useful to approach Chilndet , who provide information on Internet safety, or Respond , who offer counselling and advice/support on abuse for people with a learning disability.
I emailed The Office for disability issues ; For guidance on your son's rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) you may wish to contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The commission is an independent organisation which provides advice and information to disabled people and the general public, amongst others, on a range of subjects, including on disabled people's rights under the DDA. website at http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/Pages/default.aspx . The DDA prohibits discrimination in the context of employment, education and transport, and the provision of goods, facilities and services. The DDA says that harassment occurs where, for a reason which relates to a person’s disability, another person engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating the disabled person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment for him. A new provision, explicitly outlawing harassment for a reason related to a person’s disability, was introduced in 2004. It does not, however, cover hate crime, general harassment in public places, or specific types of abuse. However, other legislation may be relevant. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 provides some protection against harassment and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 places a statutory duty on sentencers to increase sentences for offences aggravated by hostility towards the victim because of his or her disability. You may also wish to have a look at the Crown Prosecution Service's policy statement on disability hate crime: http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/disability.html. You may also wish to note for example (pg. 46) that the Department for Children, Schools and Families has convened a taskforce on "cyberbullying". See also the proposals concerning removing inappropriate content from such sites as YouTube (pps. 32-37). Yours sincerely,