HC Deb 13 November 2003 vol 413 c439W
Bob Russell

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what powers exist to allow action to be taken against someone verbally abusing a person because of their disability; and if he will make a statement. [137856]

Maria Eagle

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the term 'harassment' extends to any form of persistent conduct which causes another alarm or distress, including harassment motivated by disability.

The Government recently amended the Criminal Justice Bill to extend the current law to cover sentences for offences aggravated by the victim's race and religion, so that it also includes offences aggravated by hostility towards the victim because of his or her sexual orientation or disability.

In October 2004 a number of changes will be introduced to the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as a consequence of implementing the EU employment directive, including a provision explicitly outlawing harassment for a reason relating to a person's disability.

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