Disability Hate Crime is an unreported issue that is on the rise and ACT praises BBC 3’s documentary The Ugly Face of Disability (which aired last night) for showing the impact and cruelty of this hidden abuse.
Last year reported disability hate crimes rose to 1,985 in England and Wales. However the abuse is often unreported with victims feeling unable to come forward.
For people who experience disability hate crime the impact can have a long and damaging effect on their life and often results in depression, isolation and a complete loss of independence.
ACT CEO, Deborah Kitson said “Disability hate crime ruins lives and the impact on a person’s emotional well-being is devastating. We should recognise the achievements and potential that people with disabilities have not abuse them because of perceived differences”
The Ugly Face of Disability found that disability hate crime was under reported alongside lack of prosecutions. ACT believes that to successfully support disabled people who are victims of this rising hate crime more training and research is needed to enhance the skills of frontline staff.
Deborah Kitson said “Professionals across social care, education and the police need to work closely with people to increase their confidence in reporting abuse. Engagement around ‘what disability hate crime is’ from an early age is key to prevention, not just working with victims.”
ACT has found through research, training and project work that often people with learning disabilities fail to recognise what hate crime is and can view abusive language or worse as the ‘norm’.
Deborah Kitson said “As a society we need to work together. Not just to report incidents of disability hate crime but to educate and challenge those people that think it is ok to destroy a life just because their victim is disabled”