Changing Faces research reveals extent of discrimination faced by people with facial disfigurement

01 June 2017

Four-fifths of people with facial disfigurement have experienced harassment, a study by Changing Faces has found, with the same proportion stating that they have avoiding applying for a job because of potential discrimination.

A study involving 800 people undertaken by Changing Faces has present stark findings about the experiences of people with conditions, scars or marks that affect their appearance, including barriers faced in career progression and employment. 

The report, titled Disfigurement in the UK, looks at every aspect of people’s lives, including school, work, relationships, health care and crime. If is the first time such an extensive survey has been carried out and the results will inform Changing Faces’ work in the future. 

Startling statistics revealed by the research included 92% of people with facial disfigurement enduring unwanted, unpleasant comments when dating online, half saying that bullying and harassment impacting on their decisions to remain in education post-16, and half said they felt their condition had limited their careers.

The study also found, generally, that:

  • that having a disfigurement can often lead to a lack of aspiration in education, in work, and in personal relationships, often confirmed by teachers, employers and others who have lower expectations of them;
  • that this lack of aspiration and opportunity can lead to a resignation that this is how things will always be, and consequently unfairness and discrimination go unchallenged; and
  • that authorities who should stand up to prejudice are failing to do so effectively even when they are alerted to it.

In her foreword to the report, the Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge says that it shows how people with a disfigurement have been ‘left behind in Britain’s progress towards being a fair and equal society’.

The report can be found online on the Changing Faces website.