Disability Hate Crime: Under reported, under prosecuted

During hate crime week, the Home Office released statistics showing a 25% increase in disability hate crime. But is this actually good news?

Disability hate crime is under reported.

2,500 disability hate crimes were recorded by the police last year, a 25% increase on the previous year.

But the National Crime Survey estimates a true figure of 70,000 disability related hate crimes. And, for people with learning disabilities, this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Figures from Mencap show that fully 88% of people with learning disabilities report bullying and harassment in the preceding year.

Dimensions welcomes the reported increase because it means more victims are coming forward.

Disability hate crime is under prosecuted.

Hate crime robs people of their confidence, their independence and, sometimes, their lives. We know that people with a learning disability feel that police officers often do not know how to communicate with them properly.

Worryingly, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) investigated why cases involving learning disabled victims rarely get to court, finding that the reliability and credibility of the victim was often an issue.

Responding to the increase, Dimensions Chief Executive Steve Scown said: “All hate crime – whether on the grounds of race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation – should be treated equally under the law. And we strongly encourage people with learning disabilities and autism, and those around them, to report hate crime to the police whenever and wherever it occurs.

“Dimensions supports people with learning disabilities to learn strategies for avoiding and dealing with situations where they may be threatened by hate crime. When someone we support is affected by hate crime, we work with the appropriate authorities to protect the person.”

If you have been affected, or you know of others who have been, please report it to the police or to Stop Hate UK.