Widespread ignorance, aversion and stigmatization acts as barriers to the social integration of people with disabilities. Those barriers block access to education, training, employment, social and cultural participation and the exercise of full citizenship.
Violence against disabled people is a phenomenon which is not uncommon in society. Research consistently proves that people with disabilities are at greater risk of being abused or suffering violence than the non-disabled population.
In many countries the physical environment is not designed to facilitate the spatial mobility and socio-economic independence of people with disabilities. For example, the underground metro system in London, UK, makes no allowance for disabled people, and that of Washington, DC, US, has had to be overhauled so that disabled people may use it.
Fears have reportedly grown among Germany's 5 million disabled that neo-nazi extremists who have killed 17 foreigners since 1990 could next target them; some people in wheelchairs say they have been spat at in the streets by young thugs. A 1993 study found more than 40 attacks against physically and mentally handicapped people occurred in Germany within 2 months.