The Minister for Equality has previously announced a new initiative for people with disabilities in the form of a Disability Information Card.
Since then, the Ministry of Equality has carried out extensive research and groundwork preparations in the form of meetings with key stakeholders, disability groups and representatives of the private sector. In addition, extensive multi-agency meetings were held for the purposes of informing them of this initiative and seeking their professional advice and assistance, as well as to ensure that all relevant Government departments, agencies and authorities are aware and prepared for when the card is issued.
Today we are proud to be able to announce the official launch of the Disability Information Card.
Many people live with learning disabilities and/or “hidden disabilities” – conditions such as autistic spectrum disorders or sensory disorders – which are not immediately apparent to the outside observer.
The main purpose of this card is to clarify any misunderstanding that may arise with first responders because of the person’s disability. It is important to highlight that the Card is not a medical alert card or an allergy card. It will also not confer any legal rights or entitle the cardholder to any benefits. Essentially, this card could be a useful communication tool and will be of particular importance in instances of an emergency or one in which the person may feel threatened or unsafe.
Benefits of this Card are:
- Disclosure of a disability, in particular a hidden disability in a discreet manner.
- A means of communication for people with certain impairments.
- Possibly boost the confidence of people with disabilities so as to participate more in social and cultural activities.
- Provide some peace of mind for parents/guardians.
- Inform service providers of specific requirements of the cardholder.
- Assist in certain circumstances by the provision of contact details of two individuals who may be contacted on weekdays and weekends at any time of the day or night (24/7) in case of an emergency, or to assist the applicant in communicating and/or in resolving a situation.
- Possibly reduce misunderstandings.
The Ministry of Equality has prepared a guidance booklet for anyone considering applying for the Card. This booklet and the application form may be collected from the Department’s office at 14 Governor’s Parade or may be requested electronically by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Government website at https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/department-equality.
Applications need to be supported with a photo similar to a passport photo as well as a valid Gibraltar Identity Card or valid Gibraltar Health Card (E111) (copies will be made and originals returned).
There is no charge for the issue of the Disability Information Card.
The Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, said “I am extremely proud and thrilled by the launch of this scheme, a true ground-breaker in Gibraltar. This will undoubtedly be a welcome tool by many people with disabilities, especially hidden disabilities, and has been welcomed by the representatives of the numerous disability groups with which the Department held consultations.
“It goes without saying that I am enormously thankful to all HM Government of Gibraltar departments, agencies and authorities who have contributed, in some shape or form, in bringing into reality this magnificent scheme as well as the end users and representative groups who have been part of our consultation process. I must also extend my gratitude to my staff at the Ministry for Equality for always being at the forefront of the progressing our disability agenda and in this particular instance for devising and delivering this fantastic proposal. I am confident that this initiative will become a useful tool for all parties concerned and also that further disability awareness is raised within our community.”