Why don’t people understand?

“For a long time, people with a learning disability and autism have not been believed or taken seriously, even when it comes to their experience of crime and abuse. This has made people lose confidence in the system.”

Dr Mark Bookes is Dimensions Campaigns Advisor and #ImWithSam spokesperson. He has been working on hate crime for 20 years.

He has, and still does, experience it himself and he’s heard many stories from other victims.

Mark writes…


“It isn’t that long since institutions closed and people with learning disabilities were moved into smaller facilities. They were seen and treated as less than human and those negative perceptions still exist today. There are still stories of people being abused in care homes and I can’t count how many stories I’ve heard from people.

“Abuse and mistreatment is so commonplace that some people with a learning disability and/or autism think it’s a normal part of daily life. They don’t report it to anyone and don’t believe they have the right to feel safe.

“Instead, people spend their life living in fear. They will stay indoors and will not go out alone or at all. We found around 45% of victims are scared of other people and don’t like leaving the house. They think that being treated bad by people who say are their friends is normal and they don’t know who to talk to or what help is available for them.

“Ignorance makes people nasty. They don’t understand that we’re people and we’re targeted for being different. Some research I was involved in found that around 90% of victims of crime and abuse feel they were targeted because they’re different or an easy target.

“It is still a big inequality for people with learning disabilities and/or autism and it needs to be taken seriously by everyone. I hope by reading about our #ImWithSam campaign we can change your perceptions and you can help us tackle hate crime against people with learning disabilities and/or autism.”

Use the buttons below to find out more.