Nina shares her experience of online hate crime.
Making statements like this is basically threatening me with poverty, purely because I’m not behaving in a way they believe disabled people should.
I have experienced various forms of online disability hate crime, mainly accusing me of faking my disability. People have commented on my blog and threatened to report me to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Making statements like this is basically threatening me with poverty, purely because I’m not behaving in a way they believe disabled people should (whatever that is)! The comments made me extremely worried that they weren’t just false threats and they might actually report me.
Some people believe that if you’re able to write a tweet or update a blog then you should be able to work from home, but my disability causes unpredictable variations in symptoms so I’m unable to commit to a schedule or deadlines because of it.
At the time I didn’t feel like I could report any of the hateful comments to the police as I didn’t think they would be taken seriously. There’re no repercussions for false reporting of benefit fraud anyway, so I didn’t think there was anything that could be done.
On Twitter I’ve also had trolls sending photos of wheelchair users who have fallen out of their chairs, after which one person even threatened to push me out of mine. Thankfully that person was banned from the site after their comments though, which was a massive relief.
Lack of prosecution
Our latest research has found more than 5,000 disability hate crimes were reported to police in 2018/19 yet few cases result in prosecution.