Debate on 'Disability Hate Crime'

Does 'Disability Hate Crime' Exist?

Man with Downs Syndrome

We asked a range of people if they could prove disability hate crime exists? If so: Is there a need for a change in understanding regarding this? Press play on the button below to listen to this discussion:

Are Disabled People Targeted By Criminals?

Wheelchair sign

Since last year, when the BBC claimed that from April 2005-December 2007 just 68 cases of what was thought to be a 'disability hate crime' had been reported; the figure has now jumped to 234 cases from April 2007-May 2008*.

So...Are 'hate crimes' against disabled people increasing? Is this just a media 'fad'?...or...are the procedures in place now recording these crimes more efficiently?

We asked Tom Shakespeare, Research Fellow at University of Newcastle and Samantha Clark, Director of Inclusion North: both have been part of research into these issues:

Tom works writes for BBC Ouch and writes performances and academic literature on genetics and disability.

Samantha is part of the charity Inclusion North and was part of the team that created a good practise guide for hate crime & disorder reduction

Listen to these two talk here:



*This figure is taken from a freedom of information request from the Crime Prosecution Service. It does not take into account changes in the way that the police record crime and includes all laws that crime can be prosecuted under.

Daniel's Voice


Voice UK campaigns to raise awareness of disability hate crime…

Their 'voice', Daniel Hardy, spoke at an Enfield hate crime forum:

These crimes are under-reported because victims may lack confidence in the police, lack knowledge of how to report crimes and because the criminal justice system can be inaccessible.

Daniel Hardy, Voice UK

The council in the London borough of Enfield are one of the few in the country which are bringing together a group of organisations to target hate crime. They intend to create good working practise throughout all their communities to encourage reporting and tackling such crimes.

Kathryn Stone, Voice UK, said: There are a number of initiatives nationally now that are showing a very different approach and attitude, in the criminal justice system and other agencies, about the way disability hate crime is perceived and dealt with.

We have to commend the efforts of the True Vision team who have put together a reporting pack about disability hate crime (which is going to be launched at the end of the year.) There is also work being done by Coast to Coast and Inclusion North, funded by the Department of Health, to make a training pack for people with learning disabilities on how to report.

Andrea Clemmons, Head of Community Safety for the borough of Enfield said:

We recognise that we need to be more understanding and smart about listening to what people are telling us and making sure we promote prosecutions where we can. We want to make sure we get that aggravated weighting wherever we can.

Enfield Council and police force have dedicated hate crime officer and work with the disabled community to address issues of crime and intimidation.

Charities such as Voice UK are now demanding extensive schemes across the UK for third party reporting and disability awareness training for professionals such as the police.

Suj Ponnampalam, Enfield Hate Crime Coordinator said Many people do not realise that disabled people also suffer from hate crime. When a hate crime is committed against a disabled person, it often goes unreported.

Police Community Support Officer’s are being used in Enfield to identify where intimidation may be present in the community and feed back to the police offices.

Mr Hardy said: It is important that we show people that it is not scary to go and talk to the police about this. I have travelled a long way because this is important to say.


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Speaker Samantha Clark worked on the...

Crime and Disorder Reduction Plan

One of the most significant findings of the Partnerships and Learning Disabiltiy Boards report is that the Learning Disability Partnership Boards and self-advocacy groups said that...70-80% of the people they worked with had experiences hate crime...whereas the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, who are responsible for recording data on these crimes, said that they only found this to be a problem...40% of the time.

The full report can be read here.







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