Skip to main content

Accessibility Settings

The Timeline

Project Introduction

“We must leave evidence. Evidence that we were here, that we existed, that we survived and loved and ached” (Mia Mingus). 

The Deaths by Welfare Project, at Healing Justice Ldn, investigates deaths linked to welfare reform and welfare state violence. 

The project aims to make visible the slow and bureaucratic violence of the State. 

Our work honours, uplifts and learns from disabled people’s lived experience and resistance.

We understand welfare related deaths as issues of disability, spatial, racial and economic justice. 

While some may understand people’s deaths as flaws in a system that needs reform, others may see them as designed into a system that needs dismantling and creating anew, with disabled people, and the analysis developed through lived experience, at the core.

The timeline pieces together evidence (often publicly available but well hidden), of dispersed harms and deaths, to identify patterns and strategies used over time by the DWP to deny accountability for people’s deaths.

As well as our timeline, check out:

-Our 5-part Deaths by Welfare podcast series

Presentation of our work, with China Mills, Monica Sharman, and Rick Burgess, at Exeter University 

Presentation on state violence and mental health (with China Mills and Wilda White) at Madess: Fighting for Justice in Mental Health, Disruption Network Lab, Berlin. 

A core part of the project is the Deaths by Welfare timeline. The timeline is inspired by the work of Disability Justice thinkers, organisers and educators. 

“The only way to bear the overwhelming pain of oppression is by telling, in all its detail, in the presence of witnesses and in a context of resistance, how unbearable it is. If we attempt to craft resistance without understanding this task, we are collectively vulnerable to all the errors of judgement that unresolved trauma generates in individuals. It is part of our task as revolutionary people, people who want deep-rooted, radical change, to be as whole as it is possible for us to be. This can only be done if we face the reality of what oppression really means in our lives, not as abstract systems subject to analysis, but as an avalanche of traumas leaving a wake of devastation in the lives of real people who nevertheless remain human, unquenchable, complex and full of possibility.” (Aurora Levins Morales, Medicine Stories). 

Creating the timeline: Who we are, and our process

On January 4th, 2021, China Mills emailed John Pring for the first time and asked him if he’d like to co-create a timeline of evidence showing the links between the UK welfare system and disabled people’s deaths. John replied the same day and said yes…

Since 2021, the Deaths by Welfare timeline has collected together masses of evidence showing how the welfare system creates life-threatening policies that lead to people’s deaths. We show that the government knows about these deaths and yet continue to deny responsibility or to make systemic change. 

The timeline is based on over a decade of research and involvement in disabled people’s anti-austerity campaigning. The need for the timeline and its contents are deeply informed by disabled people’s expertise, knowledge, activism, and movements. 

The timeline was co-created by: 

China Mills, leads The Deaths by Welfare Project, at Healing Justice Ldn – a project, co-produced with disabled people, researching welfare state violence and people’s deaths. 

John Pring, a disabled journalist with over a decade of experience researching the impact of state austerity on disabled people. John is Editor of Disability News Service. 

The timeline benefitted from essential expertise from 4 co-creators: 

Ellen Clifford (Disabled People Against Cuts [DPAC], and author of the War on Disabled People). 

Dolly Sen (artist and activist working on section136)

Rick Burgess (co-founder of the War on Welfare Petition and Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts). 

Nick Dilworth (who had decades of experience as a welfare advisor. Nick passed away before the final version of the timeline was complete. We dedicate this work to his brilliance). 


-A first draft of the timeline was co-created in February 2021 by China and John.

-This was then shared with our co-creators (Ellen, Dolly, Rick and Nick) for input and feedback. 

-The reworked timeline was then made available online as part of a public consultation (from May -August 2022) – where approx. 30 submissions of feedback were made – most of which came from disabled people (many of whom are named on the acknowledgements page). 

-China and John have also shared the timeline widely (at public events and conferences, writing and journalism, on the Deaths by Welfare podcast, and through Disability News Service), to further elicit feedback. 

-Feedback from the public consultation and other activities was collated and the timeline reworked by China and John – this included editing existing, and adding new, entries. 

-China then worked with Access, Power, Visibility collective to turn the timeline into an accessible searchable tool. 


It takes an enormous community, mostly of people with lived experience, to collect evidence of harm and resistance, and to use this for transformational change. 

Thank you to all those who have shared lived experience and stories of loved ones lost, including those who prefer to remain anonymous because of DWP surveillance and punishment. 

Of those we can name, our timeline and wider Deaths by Welfare project is deeply indebted to: 

Alex Murray 

Alison Burton 

Andy Mitchell 

Anita Bellows

Ashar Smith

Ben Scott 

Bob Ellard 

Dolly Sen

Ellen Clifford

Hannah Kemp-Welch 

Hannah Stockwell 

Imogen Day 

Jamie Redman


Joy Dove

Karen Machin 

Linda Burnip

Martha Foulds 

Miranda Keast 

Mo Stewart

Nick Dilworth 

Paula Peters 

Rebecca Yeo 

Rick Burgess

Rosanna Thompson 

Rosemary Moss

SidebySide Network

Sumayya Si-Tayeb 

Toby Chai

TypeOlogy Co-op 

Tzipporah Johnston and Door in the Wall Arts Access 

Vince Laws 

Zita Holbourne 

Litany for Survival team

Akeim Toussaint Buck

Ameen Kamlana

Farzana Khan 

Jos Bitelli 

Joseph Gray 

Lani Parker

Rose Ziaei 

Saara Jaffery-Roberts

Sara Alsaraf

Healing Justice Ldn team (current and previous): 

A’Ishah Waheed

Alex Augustin

Bella Normark 

Ewa Jasiewicz

Farzana Khan

Ilze Rieba 

Khatija Seedat 

Lena Mohamed 

Micha Frazor-Carroll

Oscar Revolledo 

Rebekah Delsol

Sarah Al-Sarraj

Sarah Joynt-Bowe 

Access Power Visibility collective 

Arjun Harrison-Mann

Benjamin Redgrove 

Kaiya Waerea

We’d also like to thank archivists at the Black Cultural Archives, the National Archives, and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre and Education Trust archive. 

This project is dedicated to all people harmed or killed by the welfare system – we hold you all in our hearts as we continue to fight for justice and co-create liveable worlds.