Disability hate crime
- 20% of repeat victims of anti-social behaviour are disabled people.
- Only 638 people were prosecuted under disability hate crime legislation in 2009/10, compared to 12,131 people for racial and religiously aggravated crimes. This amounts to 4.6% of the total number of prosecutions, based on the CPS annual report.
- There were 1,569 recorded disability hate crimes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland during 2010, an increase from 1,294 incidents occurring in 2009, according to recent figures published by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
- 3 of the 44 police forces in England and Wales reported 2 or fewer disability hate crimes in 2010. One reported none.
Deaf and disabled people in the UK are regularly mocked, taunted, robbed, assaulted and harassed. Their homes are attacked; their cars damaged and the places where they live, work and socialise are also targeted. In some cases, anti-social behaviour escalates into more sinister and serious crimes ending in kidnap, rape, torture and murder.
The motivation behind these crimes is not always clear but many bear the hallmarks of hate crimes. Disabled people frequently report that their disability was a factor in the crimes committed against them. Despite this, the overwhelming majority of these incidents are not investigated, prosecuted or sentenced as disability hate crimes.
Disability hate crime remains largely invisible. Its existence is frequently denied, disabled people who report it are routinely ignored, and its perpetrators often go unpunished.
What are we calling for?
- We want the Government to collect comprehensive national data on the incidences of disability hate crimes and insist that all local agencies work together to prevent and tackling disability hate crime. The Government has made this a priority and it is encouraging that police forces are recording incidences of disability hate crime more systematically.
- We want better training for front-line Police Officers and Community Support Officers so they can recognise disability hate crimes and investigate them properly. The ACPO figures reveal that huge variations still exist among police forces in recording disability hate crime, which shows the need to invest in training.
- We want the Crown Prosecution Service to improve prosecution rates for disability hate crime and improve support to disabled people in court.