This week we are highlighting all forms of hate crime as part of our 2016 hate crime awareness campaign and today we look at a hate crime which is often lower reported but just as impactful; disability hate crime. In September we will focus on disability awareness as the world unites to watch and celebrate the achievements of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
The majority of disabled people have impairments that are not easily visible and some people do not consider themselves, or want to be identified as being disabled. The Disability Discrimination Act states that a disability is where a person has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
This includes a variety of impairments such as: learning disabilities (including dyslexia); mental health conditions; mobility impairments; blindness and partial sight; deafness and hearing impairment; and progressive long-term health conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and HIV. It also covers people who may not consider that they have a disability, such as those with long-term conditions (for example, diabetes, cancer or long-term stress/depression.)
Here is one officer’s view of encountering a hate crime and how important it is to get the support you need.
“As a neighbourhood beat manager it is important to work with the community and partnership organisations. One example of a hate crime I dealt with demonstrates this.
At the time of offence both the victim and suspect lived in the same block of flats. The victim suffered from a medical condition that required use of a mobility scooter and rang the police after being verbally insulted about his weight and use of a mobility scooter.
The neighbourhood policing team liaised with the local housing association and SARI. We could then make a partnership approach resulting in the suspect being summoned to appear in court for a public order offence. Working with the local housing association meant they could offer a housing transfer to move out of the block away from the victim. SARI respected both parties and could offer further support to the victim.”
The aim of the campaign is to help encourage victims and witnesses of hate incidents - whether it is verbal, physical or on social media - to report it to the police or other relevant organisations. Improved recording of these crimes will enable a better understanding and help identify and improve services for victims in communities where hate crimes are evident.
Anyone with information about a hate incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency or in person at a police station. If you feel you can speak to us, we would prefer to speak to you on the phone or in person, however if contacting us online is the safest way for you to get in touch, you can complete our online reporting form. If you don’t want to contact us directly please use an independent agency like the Bristol Hate Crime Service on freephone 0800 171 2272 or report it online on the True Vision website .
Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Would you know if someone was being victimised for their disability? What would you do? #togetheragainsthatecrime