Victim Support for Disablist Hate Crime

Disability/ disablist hate crime must end. The shocking statistics and ways to help create change.

65,000 cases in the UK per year
90% of those with a learning disability will experience bullying or harassment at some time
47% will be assaulted, robbed or spat on and feel unsafe in their own home
20% will experience regular, continuing harassment

Until recently my only experience of charity Victim Support was following a burglary in our student accomodation. No-one was in, nothing sentimental was taken, and although shaken, we were fine. A nice lady rang from the organisation about a week later to see how we were coping.

That was my only experience, until many years later a dear friend lost her brother in an unprovoked attack. I watched, helpless from the sidelines as she and her family struggled through post traumatic stress disorder. But I saw Victim Support swoop in with understanding, practical support, counselling and someone at the end of a phone day and night. In this terrible situation, the Victim Support Officer was the rock that kept them all going when they thought their lives were over.

I therefore agreed to speak at a local Victim Support conference recently, and I took along my friend, who also bravely shared her experiences to encourage and thank the volunteers present.

The topic of the day was mental health, so as an advocate for those with learning disabilities, I decided to speak on the frightening and emotional topic of disablist hate crime or disability hate crime as it is most often termed.

Natty is only two years old has so far evoked nothing but positivity from those around us, but as a Mencap Mumbassador I was all too keenly aware that the incidence of discriminatory crime is frighteningly and disturbingly high and our experiences with online trolls has sent us to the police on a couple of occasions.

What is hate crime?

Sadly it is often hidden or unreported as victims feel ashamed or too afraid to seek help. These easy read leflets can help.

Carers and social services can also use Makaton or communication Apps to identify what is happening.

Watch Neils's story by Mencap. 

He felt he was an 'easy target' and neighbours 'didn't blink an eye' when a man assualted him, but Neil was moved to a safe community where he feels protected. We are all different and we all need help with certain aspects of life. The thought that one day my daughter might experience such vile bigotry makes me want to wrap her in cotton wool forever.

For me, you see, this is very personal.

Tragically, shamefully, many stories do not have the happy ending that Neil experienced.

Keith Philpott
Barrie John Horrel
Steven Hoskins
Christine Lakinski
Fiona Pilkington and her daughter

Just a handful of names driven to suicide or tortured to death at the hands of 'neighbours' or so-called friends 'just for fun', in what Police term 'mate crime'. The film of their stories is too distressing to show, but we must work together to prevent history from repeating itself.

Act Now!

•Find your local DPULO - Disabled People's User-led Organisation
•Access Mencap's –Stand By Me campaign
•Call Stop Hate UK on 0808 8028686

We can all:
Take Learning Disability crimes seriously. It's not just words.
•Realise that everyone has equal rights
Make reasonable adjustments to practice to accommodate learning/understanding styles
Understand a victim’s view of the world
Liaise with carers, social workers, relevant charities, Learning Disability nurses for joined-up support

     Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers I met that day. I came home with renewed faith in humanity and thankful for such a hard working support network all around us, many of them working on projects to prevent anti-social crimes from happening in the first place.

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