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The Equality Act became law in 2010 and protects everyone from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.  Everyone is protected while they are in the workplace, when using public services such as healthcare, when using transport, in shops restaurants and cinemas and when in contact with public bodies such as council or government departments.

Everyone has the right to be treated equally and express and practice their beliefs and values. Discriminatory abuse is when someone picks on you or treats you unfairly because something about you is different.  The examples of discriminatory abuse may take the form of any of the other types of abuse. The difference is that the abuse is motivated by discriminatory attitudes, feelings or behaviour towards an individual.

Discriminatory abuse can include:

  • Unequal treatment due to race, gender, religion or belief, age, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, sexuality, sex or disability
  • Verbal abuse, inappropriate language, slurs, harassment and deliberate exclusion
  • Denial of basic human and civil rights for example by not allowing a person to follow his or her own spiritual or cultural beliefs
  • Failure to meet and take into account the religious and cultural needs of an individual
  • Racist graffiti or bringing racist material, including magazine and leaflets into the vulnerable persons home
  • Failing to make reasonable adjustments for someone with a disability.

Indicators of discriminatory abuse may include:

  • A lack of choice, privacy and dignity
  • A lack of personal belongings
  • The use of punishment to the person for example by withholding food and drink from them
  • A tendency for withdrawal and isolation
  • An expression of anger, frustration or fear and anxiety
  • A lack of disabled access
  • Or being refused access to services or being excluded inappropriately.

The indicators of discriminatory abuse may take the form of any of the other types of abuse. The difference lies in that the abuse is motivated by discriminatory attitudes, feelings or behaviour towards an individual. 

Under The Equality Act, public bodies such as councils, hospitals and publicly-funded service providers have to consider how any decisions they make and the policies they put into place affect people with different protected characteristics, they are also required to provide evidence to demonstrate that they have done so.