KAPA RESEARCH survey on disabled unveiled
"Greek society no longer hides the problem of disability; progress has been made in specific living conditions of people with disabilities over the last ten years. However, there has been a rapid deterioration in their lives with respect to their means of livelihood as a result of the crisis, a matter that must be addressed by the state. At the same time, the public greatly opposes any policy that burdens people with disabilities."
These are the key conclusions reached by a nationwide survey presented on Monday ahead of the National Day for the Disabled on December 3, conducted by KAPA RESEARCH for the National Confederation of People with Disabilities (ESAmeA) to investigate Greek society's views on disability issues.
Among its findings, the survey showed that 51,6% of persons related to someone with a disability or a chronic ailment report that the biggest difficulties are financial, 49,1% reported difficulties in transactions with public services and 37,1% highlighted psychological, emotional and practical problems.
Life for people with disabilities got worse over the past three years, according to 58,8% of respondents, with loss of income, including benefits and pensions, cited as top cause by 74,1%. Other difficulties were access to employment (59,1%) and the support afforded to families with disabilities (53,7).
At the same time, 88,2% said that a key obstacle preventing disabled people from living with dignity was the inadequacy of state structures, 73,3% referred to social prejudices, 65% to the psychology of a disabled person and the 58% to the disability in itself.
An overwhelming 95,9% answered yes to the question: "Do you believe that the society must cover the additional living cost that occurs due to disability?" and 96,5% estimated that the economic crisis has created major difficulties for families with a disabled person.
On policies for the inclusion of the disabled, 93.2% were in favour and said that this was an issue of human rights, while 82% said that government policies promoting equality and diversity were considered less important in Greece and received less funding.
In terms of discrimination, 79.4% believe that this exists in Greece and is most in seeking employment and equal access in public places.
Areas where there have been improvements relate to access to new technologies and the internet (63.6%), access to news and information (55.6%) and better access to education and public transport.
Overall, the government, trade unions and political parties ranked last in the assessment of their work for the disabled.
"The conclusion that arises is that the existing social state is not enough, either in terms of quality or in terms of quantity," Deputy Labour and Welfare Minister Vassilis Kegeroglou commented on Monday, saying that the government must work harder to improve the situation.
The survey was conducted using a sample of 4,506 people from October 31 to November 21.