Young people with learning disabilities “too scared” to go to gigs

Almost a third of young people with learning disabilities who go to music gigs have been bullied, a new study has found.

The research, carried out by UK charity Mencap, found that some 29.2 per cent of people had suffered abuse from members of the public.

It further found that one in three young people have been afraid of staff at music venues, while 55.6 per cent would be more likely to go on nights out if staff understood more about learning disability.

The findings have led to a call for the music community to work together by remaining vigilant and asking venues to expand their staff training to include learning disability awareness.

Rossanna Trudgian, Head of Campaigns and Activism for Mencap, said: “People with a learning disability have a right to a night out like anyone else. But the reality is if you are young and have a learning disability you’re likely to be blocked out of something as universal as music due to fear of staff or public attitudes. What’s worse bullying seems to be one of the reasons people with a learning disability don’t attend gigs or nightclubs and this needs to change.

“Music should be open to everyone and I urge music venues and live music fans to work together to tackle this issue head on by staying ever alert for incidents of bullying and ensuring venue staff have had learning disability awareness training.”