Reported disability hate crime rises by 25%
13 October 2015
by Andy Cole
Today the Home Office announced there has been a 25% increase of reported disability hate crime according to police recorded figures. These figures show a shocking rise.
Disability hate crime destroys lives. As well as the terrible immediate impact of violence and harassment, too often hate crime leaves disabled people isolated and vulnerable, living in fear, and cut off from their family, friends and neighbours because of the ongoing threat of violence and retaliation.
Better reporting, and an increased effort by the authorities to raise awareness and support victims, can explain some of this increase. But it is very concerning there has been no progress by police, prosecutors and probation services to reduce the number of crimes being committed.
When only 2,500 victims of disability hate crime report their experiences to the police out of an estimated 70,000 victims, it is clear something is seriously wrong.
These new figures must act as a wakeup call.
At Leonard Cheshire Disability, we have undertaken projects in London and Northern Ireland to raise the profile of disability hate crime, increase reporting and ultimately to reduce crime itself through a safety training and advocacy service for disabled people, as well as a police engagement programme.
This issue is one which demands cultural as well as legal changes, and we will continue to play our part.
Andy Cole is campaigns director at Leonard Cheshire Disability.