Hate Crime in the UK

The  spate of offensive articles recently  , attacking  people with ME, needs to be seen against the  backdrop of an alarming rise of Hate Crime against people with a disability   in the UK  :

From Stonewall  :

Definition of hate crime
The Association of Chief Police Officers distinguishes between a hate incident and a hate crime. A hate incident is:
“Any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.”

Whilst a hate crime is defined specifically as:
“Any hate incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.”

From Scope  :
  • 20% of repeat victims of anti-social behaviour are disabled people
  • Only 638 people were prosecuted under disability hate crime legislation in 2009/10, compared to 12,131 people for racial and religiously aggravated crimes. This amounts to 4.6% of the total number of prosecutions, based on the CPS annual report.
  • There were 1,569 recorded disability hate crimes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland during 2010, an increase from 1,294 incidents occurring in 2009, according to recent figures published by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
  • 3 of the 44 police forces in England and Wales reported 2 or fewer disability hate crimes in 2010. One reported none.
Deaf and disabled people in the UK are regularly mocked, taunted, robbed, assaulted and harassed. Their homes are attacked; their cars damaged and the places where they live, work and socialise are also targeted. In some cases, anti-social behaviour escalates into more sinister and serious crimes ending in kidnap, rape, torture and murder.
The motivation behind these crimes is not always clear but many bear the hallmarks of hate crimes. Disabled people frequently report that their disability was a factor in the crimes committed against them. Despite this, the overwhelming majority of these incidents are not investigated, prosecuted or sentenced as disability hate crimes.
Disability hate crime remains largely invisible. Its existence is frequently denied, disabled people who report it are routinely ignored, and its perpetrators often go unpunished. 

From the Crown Prosecution Service :
The CPS wants disabled victims and witnesses and their families and communities, as well as the general public, to be confident that the CPS understands the serious nature of this type of crime. Feeling and being unsafe or unwelcome – from shunning or rejection to violence, harassment and negative stereotyping – has a significant negative impact on disabled people's sense of security and wellbeing. It also impacts significantly on their ability to participate both socially and economically in their communities.
·                       The Disability Rights Commission's Attitudes and Awareness Survey (2003) revealed that 22 per cent of disabled respondents had experienced harassment in public because of their impairment. Incidents of harassment were more acute among 15-34 year olds with 33 per cent of this group of disabled people experiencing harassment (DRC, 2003).
·                       Eight per cent of disabled people in London suffered a violent attack during 2001-02 compared with four per cent of non-disabled people. Research by Greater London Action on Disability (GLAD) found that, "The attacks have a major impact on disabled people. Around a third have had to avoid specific places and change their usual routine. One in four has moved home as a result of the attack. Many disabled people are not confident that the police can help to stop the incidents" (GLAD 2002).
·                       Research by Mencap demonstrated that 90 per cent of people with a learning disability had experienced bullying and harassment. Sixty-six per cent of people with a learning disability have been bullied regularly with 32 per cent stating that bullying was taking place on a daily or weekly basis (Living in Fear, 2000).
Safety and security, and the right to live free from fear and harassment, are fundamental human rights and the CPS recognises the wider community impact of disability hate crime where it strikes at all disabled people by undermining their sense of safety and security in the community. For this reason we regard disability hate crime as particularly serious. Such crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate and they have no place in an open and democratic society.
Further information relating to disability hate crime is available on this website in the Publications/Prosecution Policy and Guidance/Disability Hate Crime section.

 From the Guardian :

The government's focus on alleged fraud and overclaiming to justify cuts in disability benefits has caused an increase in resentment and abuse directed at disabled people, as they find themselves being labelled as scroungers, six of the country's biggest disability groups have warned.
Some of the charities say they are now regularly contacted by people who have been taunted on the street about supposedly faking their disability and are concerned the climate of suspicion could spill over into violence or other hate crimes.
While the charities speaking out – Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), and Disability Alliance – say inflammatory media coverage has played a role in this, they primarily blame ministers and civil servants for repeatedly highlighting the supposed mass abuse of the disability benefits system, much of which is unfounded.
At the same time, they say, the focus on "fairness for taxpayers" has fostered the notion that disabled people are a separate group who don't contribute.

 From the Welsh Government  :

Positive action to deal with hate crime in Wales has been outlined by the Welsh Government Minister in charge of equalities.

Jane Hutt has announced that a framework for action will be created to   tackle all forms of hate crime including disability-related harassment, as well as harassment based on race, religion,sexual orientation and against  transgender people.  It will be underpinned by strong consultation and clear evidence.
The approach will be supported by realistic and deliverable plans which will be deeply rooted in the Welsh Government working closely with their partners.
Minister Jane Hutt said:
“Incidents of hate crime are shocking and unacceptable. I am committed to the Welsh Government taking a strong lead in this area.
“We all have a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable to harassment in society and to ensure that disabled people and those with long term health conditions are able to live a life without fear.
“I think that there is an excellent opportunity under the new Welsh specific equality duties to work closely with public sector organisations to tackle and respond to these particular issues.
“I want to ensure that we live in a society where hate crime is not tolerated, so that people in Wales feel free to live within safe and vibrant communities.”
A commitment to tackling hate crime is made in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, and these plans have been previewed in a response to the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee’s inquiry into disability harassment in Wales.
Ms Hutt has also emphasised that she is committed to building on recent research into hate crime, and will commission work to examine the perpetrators of hate crime and their motives in the very near future.

 From the Independent :

Disability hate crimes rose by more than a fifth last year, figures showed today.
Police recorded 1,569 incidents where the victim thought the alleged crime was motivated by their disability in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, compared with just 1,294 in 2009.

 From the BBC :

Many disabled people are victims of hate crimes on a routine basis, according to a report.
It says some 100,000 disabled people in Wales were victims in 2009/10, and the four police forces all saw rises in reported disability hate crimes in 2010/11.
The findings come from the Equality and Human Rights commission which carried out a disability harassment inquiry.
The inquiry made four recommendations aimed at reducing harassment.
"People told us they routinely experience different forms of harassment such as name calling, physical violence, bullying and cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, domestic violence and financial exploitation," the report said.
"Some disabled people say they just accept it as inevitable and live with it. Others try to rearrange their lives to avoid abusive situations.


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