Why aren’t victims getting justice?

Negative perceptions, ignorance and assumptions when dealing with victims of disability hate crime all make it difficult for victims to get justice.

Hate crime law isn’t strong enough

Disability hate crime was only formally introduced in England and Wales in 2003.

Since then, a number of reports have shown weaknesses in the legal protection given to disabled victims, as well as a lack of parity between disability and other monitored strands of hate crime.

A successful prosecution for a disability hate crime relies on a sentencing uplift, which means someone can’t be prosecuted specifically for a hate crime but that their sentence can be increased due to this aggravating factor.

Victims are seen as unreliable

Another issue is that victims are often perceived as unreliable. The Crown Prosecution Service has found that the reliability and credibility of the victim often prevented the case going to court and have worked with us to improve their policy on this issue.

A person with a learning disability may not have the language to name and report a crime, or they might not have the confidence and support available to speak up.

We found that only 8% of police officers who had received learning disability and autism hate crime training felt it was very good. This means they often don’t have the skills to support victims when they need it most.

When the responsibility of recognising something as a hate crime is solely on the victim, the system immediately starts to falter.

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