Victimisation, Threats and Abuse – Disability hate crime revealed

Published by Disability Nottinghamshire on

Young disabled people are failing to report hate crimes to the police because they fear they will not be taken seriously.

Nearly two in three young disabled people say they have been victims of disability hate crimes, such as being verbally or physically abused or suffering threatening behaviour, a survey by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign found. The research, by the campaign’s Trailblazers, a 400-strong group of disabled 18-to-30-year-olds, raises concerns that nationally hundreds of attacks on disabled people are going unreported.

Young disabled people are failing to report threatening behaviour and verbal and physical abuse in public due to a fear that these crimes will not be taken seriously,Trailblazers campaigners have warned today.

Trailblazers are urging police authorities to review their handling of disability-motivated hate crime, as a new report, Under Investigation, launches today showing that up to 80 per cent of young disabled people believe that the police do not take disability harassment and hate crime seriously enough.

Our survey reveals that:

  • two out of three young disabled people have been taunted or verbally abused because they are disabled
  • 62 percent of young disabled people say they have been or may have been the victim of disability hate crime
  • only four out of ten young disabled people who completed the survey and have been harassed or abused, have reported the incident to a person in authority
  • eight out of ten young disabled people who completed the survey think the police do not take disability hate crime seriously enough.

Trailblazers told of reluctance to report incidents of verbal abuse, spitting and confrontational behaviour, due to the belief that their local police force would fail to take action or that the incident was not ‘significant enough’ to warrant police time.

Trailblazers is now calling for a nationwide initiative between forces to crack down on disability-motivated crime by building links with local disabled groups, providing alternative ways for reporting abuse, and reviewing approaches to recording and tackling incidents.

The Under Investigation report reveals that 60% of people surveyed said they had been a victim of disability hate crime, in contrast to the tiny amount of cases reported to the police every year. In 2010 only 726 cases of disability hate crime were prosecuted in England and Wales.

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