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FACTS
THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK
There are a number of laws that could affect how you communicate with diverse audiences.

THE RACE RELATIONS (AMENDMENT) ACT 2000
This is an Act to protect people against racial discrimination by public authorities. It also places a new, enforceable duty on public authorities to promote race equality. The aim is to provide fair and accessible services and to improve equal opportunities in employment. If you work in an area with a large number of people from ethnic minority communities, you could fall foul of the law if you make few attempts to communicate with them or don’t provide any services for them.

THE DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1995
This Act protects disabled people in the areas of employment; access to goods, facilities and services; the management, buying or renting of land or property; and education. Organisations need to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in terms of service provision, support, and physical barriers to accessing premises.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998
This Act applies to all public authorities. It makes it unlawful for bodies like the police, government departments, and local councils to violate the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Act is relevant to many people including parents, children, prisoners, Travellers, people with a mental disorder and immigrants.

COMMON GOOD RESEARCH
In September 2003, COI Communications (COI) commissioned research on communicating with people from ethnic minority communities. The objectives were to: • Explore social and cultural factors that affect communication • Provide creative guidance and strategies for communication The report, Common Good, was so called because it is of interest to all government departments and agencies.

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SOME OF THE KEY FINDINGS FROM THE RESEARCH
• Ethnic minority communities - particularly their younger members - share many interests and media habits with the general population, making mainstream media a good outlet • Specialist media are needed for some groups, particularly older women and those who speak little English. For whole families in Asian and Chinese communities it can provide additional ‘cultural closeness’ • The impact of advertising and marketing in mainstream media is enhanced by using realistic and credible characters rather than cultural stereotypes • Ethnic and religious identity can enhance the impact of messages within specialist media e.g. community leaders, reference to religious or cultural symbols, likeable portraits of family life • There are many opportunities for creative niche marketing via specialist media and partnerships within the local community • Community groups are a valuable source of advice and distribution and should be seen as a target audience with materials developed to meet their needs

Racial equality issues: for more information contact the Commission for Racial Equality see www.cre.gov.uk Disability issues: for more information contact the Disability Rights Commission see www.drc-gb.org.uk Human Rights issues: for more information contact Liberty see www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk

Common Good – communicating with ethnic minorities is available from COI Communications at www.coi.gov.uk/documents/common-good-bme-exec-summ-pdf

For further information contact FRANK on 020 7035 0200

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TIPS
COMMUNICATING WITH DISABLED PEOPLE
Face-to-face communication with disabled people is generally a matter of common sense, but here are a few basic tips that may help you avoid inappropriate language or behaviour and help avoid offence or embarrassment on either side.
ALL DISABLED PEOPLE DO •Ask disabled people what would help them.
Offer appropriate assistance, but wait for your offer to be accepted before taking action

DON’T •Assume you know what someone wants
or needs until they have told you

•Make a big deal of meeting someone’s
needs

•Make sure reception staff and others are
briefed to provide appropriate assistance

•Confuse disability with illness •Invade personal space by inappropriate
contact or by leaning on a wheelchair

•Remember that disability is ‘normal’ – almost
1 in 6 people in the UK have a disability

•Talk directly to the disabled person •Use everyday expressions such as ‘Nice to
see you’,‘Must be running along’ normally – they rarely offend, even when they seem to relate to a specific disability. Use terminology preferred by disabled people, such as ‘someone with epilepsy’,‘wheelchair user’

•Use language that may give offence, such
as ‘blind as a bat’,‘deaf and dumb’, ‘cripple’,‘spastic’,‘handicapped’,‘the blind’,‘an epileptic’,‘suffering from epilepsy’, ‘confined to a wheelchair’ etc

•Define people by their disability

•Recognise that disabled people are not
a homogeneous group

PHYSICAL DISABILITY
Mobility impairments, manual dexterity and co-ordination problems, facial disfigurement, wheelchair users, walking aids, prosthetic limbs.

DO •Consider physical access issues in advance.
Be aware of obstacles such as, clutter, rough surfaces, heavy doors or high door handles as well as the more obvious steps, accessible toilet, parking facilities etc

DON’T •Assume only people in wheelchairs have
access problems – conditions such as arthritis, muscle weakness or cerebral palsy can also affect someone’s ability to deal with the physical environment

•Try to position yourself at the same level as
someone in a wheelchair to avoid talking down to them or causing neck strain

•Don’t lean on a wheelchair

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VISUAL IMPAIRMENT
Mild partial sightedness through to total blindness, tunnel vision, peripheral vision only, blurred or elliptical vision.

DO •Introduce yourself and others clearly so
the person knows who is present. And use people’s names so that a visually impaired person can follow the conversation

DON’T •Move away without saying you’re going –
this can leave someone talking to thin air!

•Take their arm or try to steer the person –
it is easier for them take your arm and to follow half a step behind you

•Offer your arm as a guide, and give verbal
warnings of slopes, stairs, kerbs etc, saying whether they are up or down

•Shake hands without telling them you would
like to do so

•Place their hand on the back or arm
of a chair when offering them a seat

•Distract or make a fuss over a guide dog.
It is a working dog, not a pet

•Make arrangements to accommodate a
guide dog – such as providing a water bowl

HEARING IMPAIRMENT
Hard of hearing through to total Deafness, BSL use, age-related hearing impairments, congenital hearing problems.
There is a wide spectrum of hearing impairment from mild hard of hearing to profoundly Deaf. There are different means of communicating so always ask someone what suits them best.

DO •Always address the Deaf
person directly

DON’T •Speak to the interpreter unless what you want to say applies
specifically to them

•Arrange for an interpreter
if necessary

•Assume that all the words or expressions you use have a direct
BSL equivalent, some may need spelling out or explaining and therefore take more time

PEOPLE WITH LITERACY DIFFICULTIES
People with literacy difficulties are not necessarily disabled, but some disabilities, such as learning disabilities and Deafness can affect a person’s ability to understand the written word. Make sure that your communications are in accessible formats, both to address literacy issues and to make them inclusive for disabled people.

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TIPS
ENGAGING WITH COMMUNITIES
The use and development of drug services has historically had low uptake amongst some marginalised and disadvantaged people, including those from Black and ethnic minority communities. The Community Engagement Project – a partnership between the Department of Health and the University of Central Lancashire – has been established to identify the reasons for this.
It also aims to highlight the needs of these communities in relation to drug prevention, education and treatment so that appropriate services can be developed. So far, 141 community groups including ethnic minority groups, drug users and ex-user groups, Traveller communities, women involved in prostitution, refugees and disabled people have been involved.

THE KEY AIMS OF THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROJECT (CEP)
• Give disadvantaged and marginalised people a better understanding of the drug misuse issues for their communities • Establish information networks across participating projects in order to encourage information sharing and identify gaps in services • Provide capacity building for local community groups • Ensure the involvement of local health and social care planners in the development process

BENEFITS OF INVOLVEMENT
COMMUNITY Involvement in CEP can help local community members gain a better understanding of issues related to drugs and the problems faced in accessing drug services, including the issues of stigma and denial about drug use. Members have an opportunity to: • Raise awareness of the existence of the community groups • Be actively involved in identifying the needs of their community • Help people understand the community better STATUTORY CEP helps statutory bodies to be more aware of, and sensitive to, the local cultural, social and religious needs of the community. In turn, it can help the researchers involved in the project to have a better understanding of the local drug services and the commissioning bodies. This can lead to more relevant development of services. RESEARCH Researchers can undertake the university certificate in ‘Community Research and Drugs’ to: • Aid career development into drugs work • Have the opportunity to move into further education

MODEL FOR ENGAGING COMMUNITIES
To involve communities in the project, the CEP has used the following model:
Community Engagement Funding Opportunity

Advertising (for group(s)/individual to apply)

Community groups make application/ express interest

Applications selected via mandatory criteria*

Group selected and project commences

*Geographic region, ethnic minority group targeted, DAT/ PCT letter of support, organisation and management of the group, links with and understanding of local community, the proposal, cost, value for money and risk.

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THE ROLE OF LOCAL DRUG ACTION TEAMS IN CEP
DATs can use the CEP as an opportunity to: • Build relationships with groups that have been hard to reach or who haven’t been consulted • Strengthen existing relationships • Encourage groups to apply for CEP funding • Be introduced to other agencies and key stakeholders They can then provide initial support in setting up the steering group meeting and ongoing support by sitting on the steering group. They may also assist with report writing and help the groups to make key recommendation from the findings. In addition, DATs can take on recommendations from the projects to help break down barriers and perceptions of racism.

THE ROLE OF THE SUPPORT WORKER
An integral part of CEP’s success is the establishment of a support worker role to help guide the development of the research projects on an ongoing basis. The support worker can: • Help the group make amendments to the project proposal/ budget that may have been agreed at the interview • Assist in recruiting workers from the community to represent the targeted community • Advise and support the group in setting up a steering group to invite DAT (DAAT) and other key stakeholders such as PCT, Social Services, Youth Offending Teams, Housing, Police, Asylum Teams, local drug services and other community organisations • Help the group draw up realistic objectives and tasks • Help the group to define the research project and draw up an action plan

THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL PRACTITIONER OR WORKER
Individual practitioners or workers can play a similar role to DATs. In addition, their involvement in CEP enables a link between statutory bodies and community groups to be established and communication maintained. Local practitioners are in a good position to help break down tension that can exist between community groups and statutory agencies and can play a valuable role on the steering group. As is the case with DATs, practitioners need to be aware of and sensitive to the local cultural and religious and social needs of different communities.

GET INVOLVED
If you would like to get involved in the Community Engagement Programme, contact the Centre for Ethnicity and Health at the University of Central Lancashire on 01772 892 780. Black and ethnic minority community groups remain a priority at present, however the programme also extends to white disadvantaged groups.

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