Disability Hate Crime occurs when someone is targeted because they are disabled.
This could be due to any of the following:
- Physical disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments
- Learning disabilities
- Mental Health conditions
- Neurodivergent conditions, including autism, ADHD and dyslexia
Mate Crime happens when someone befriends a victim to take advantage of them.
This can include physical resources such as food and money, or sexual abuse or assault.
This can create a complex situation as someone might be afraid to lose the friendship or may be worried about being lonely.
Victims of Disability Hate Crimes may face additional barriers after experiencing the incident such as:
Normalising what has happened
If incidents happen often then people may ‘normalise’ it and attribute it to an expected everyday experience.
Lack of awareness of what a Hate Crime is
Many people are unaware of what a Hate Crime is, and how the abuse, bullying, hostility or prejudice they have endured could be classed as a criminal offence.
People who have experienced disability hate crime may not realise that a disfigurement, such as a burn injury, or people with a mental health condition would also be accounted for within the protected groups of hate crime legislation.
There may be communication or accessibility barriers that may make it more difficult for people to report hate crime and access support.
Victim Support take all steps possible to meet any accessibility needs including working with British Sign Language interpreters and providing resources in Easy Read formats.
Some people may find it difficult to identify and explain what happened to them as a Hate Crime and are therefore less likely to have the confidence to report or access support.
Disabled victims who have supported / independent living arrangements may feel fearful that their independence may be affected if they report a hate crime.
They may also fear retribution from neighbours if the hate crime happens in their neighbourhood.
If you are worried about reporting a Hate Crime you can talk to Victim Support first who can listen and talk to you about your options.