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SCOPE faces criticism from Web-based campaign

SCOPE faces criticism from Web-based campaign

Disability charity SCOPE is facing criticism from Dr Laurence Clark, a disabled person with cerebral palsy, who has created a Web site to argue that the charity is “an anachronism in the modern world.”

Dr Clark has registered the domain name www.spastics-society.com, purposely using the former name of the organisation now called SCOPE, although he is aware that the word “spastic” is offensive to many people. His Web site claims to offer an alternative history of the last 50 years of SCOPE: “using facts and figures derived from [the charity’s] own publications,” he says, “we show how they have oppressed us time and time again, by taking public money to run segregated schools and residential institutions that we ourselves do not want.”

According to The Guardian, “the charity has hit back and claimed that his assertions are inaccurate and misleading.”

Launched last week, the Web site has so far not attracted very many visitors. According to its front page Web counter, 824 people had visited it and “read the truth.”

The site’s campaign banner – “Support disabled people – just say NO to SCOPE” – is reminiscent of another recent online campaign against a disability charity. Indeed, Dr Clark acknowledges that “the inspiration for this site came from Dr. Paul Darke” who used the leonard-cheshire.com domain name to campaign against the Leonard Cheshire Foundation.

The campaign has highlighted the fact that charities should be aware that they might need to register or retain domain names related to any names by which they used to be known.

Read “Scope under fire from disabled activist” by Nicola Hill at SocietyGuardian.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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