The importance of being able to access an accessible toilet cannot and should not be underestimated. For some people lack of such access means restrictive participation in social and cultural activities.
Having access to an accessible toilet would promote greater involvement in the community. It is with this in mind that the Ministry of Equality has under its ethos “Working Together for Equality” been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment for the purposes of introducing a local RADAR Key Pilot Scheme.
A RADAR Key and RADAR Key locks are used in accessible toilets that are used by people with certain disabilities who cannot use a standard toilet. Granting these people a RADAR Key allows them the freedom to use accessible toilets that are fitted with this special lock at any time and not just when the accessible toilet is open to the general public.
RADAR Keys will be available from the Ministry of Equality on the presentation of an application form which has to be completed by an applicant who needs the use of an accessible toilet due to a medical condition or disability. A medical practitioner will have to certify this statement. The application form will need to be returned together with a photocopy of the applicant’s valid Gibraltar Health Authority Card (E111) or valid Gibraltar Identity Card.
The RADAR Key is free of charge upon first issue. RADAR Keys are for the exclusive use of the applicant; it is a non-transferable Scheme. Using an Accessible toilet without legitimate reason may be unnecessarily preventing a person with an impairment from accessing vital facilities thereby possibly leading them to feeling discomfort, distress or embarrassment. If the RADAR Key Scheme is to operate appropriately we politely request that key holders, ensure the safekeeping of their RADAR key.
We also would like for the general public to note that not all impairments are visible or obvious to the onlooker so it is important not to be too quick to judge whether a person should or should not be the holder of a RADAR key.
It is because accessible toilets are bigger, more private and less likely to be occupied, that they are sometimes open to misuse by the general public and by vandals. The RADAR key Scheme will enable this toilet to be locked, to prevent vandalism and misuse yet accessible to people with certain disabilities and medical conditions outside the manned hours of a toilet attendant. Access to toilets fitted with a RADAR lock will be able to be used by RADAR key holder at any time during the day or night.
The recently opened Market Place Accessible toilet will be the first toilet to have a RADAR Key lock fitted and will be able to be accessed by RADAR key holders shortly. This accessible public toilet has been specifically chosen for the pilot scheme because of its strategic mid-way location to the hub of Gibraltar’s social and cultural activities and venues.
The Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, said: “This is yet another great example of the innovative work being carried out by the Ministry of Equality, with the purpose of making Gibraltar more inclusive. I am very pleased with the launch of this RADAR Key pilot scheme, another first in Gibraltar, and one which will significantly assist people with disabilities”
The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Prof John Cortes MP said: “The Ministry for Education, Environment, Energy and Climate change is pleased to once again work together with the Ministry for Equality to fit these systems. Equality, like Environment, is at the heart of all aspects of Government policy.”