Scapegoat: Why we are Failing Disabled People

Katharine Quarmby

Every few months there's a shocking news story about the sustained, and often fatal, abuse of a disabled person. It's easy to write off such cases as bullying that got out of hand, terrible criminal anomalies or regrettable failures of the care system, but in fact they point to a more uncomfortable and fundamental truth about how our society treats its most unequal citizens. In Scapegoat, Katharine Quarmby looks behind the headlines to question and understand our discomfort with disabled people. Combining fascinating examples from history with tenacious investigation and powerful first person interviews, Scapegoat will change the way we think about disability - and about the changes we must make as a society to ensure that disabled people are seen as equal citizens, worthy of respect, not targets for taunting, torture and attack.


This is a stomach-turning book - but it must be read. - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

In Scapegoat, Quarmby documents specific crimes in chilling detail puts them into the broader context of violence and prejudice against disabled people. I cannot imagine reading a more important book this year. - Tom Shakespeare

Genuinely authoritative... Quarmby's sobering conclusion is that there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way that disabled people are viewed by society as a whole. - Paul Cockburn, Scotland on Sunday

Katharine Quarmby has studied the plight of disabled people in this country over the past century and gathered her findings into a fireball of a book... A shocking, challenging call to action. - Alastair Mabbot, Herald

About the Author

KATHARINE QUARMBY is a campaigning journalist and an award-winning film-maker. She has worked as a producer on BBC Panorama and Newsnight, edited Disability Now magazine, served as a correspondent for the Economist and written for most of the broadsheet newspapers. She was the first British journalist to investigate disability hate crime and her report for Scope, 'Getting Away with Murder', has revolutionised thinking about the issue. Scapegoat is her first book for adults. She won the AMIA International Literature Award for Scapegoat in 2011, and was a finalist for the Paul Foot Award in the same year, for her many years of campaigning journalism on the same subject.

Scapegoat: Why We are Failing Disabled People

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