This morning, I received the following email from Disability Wales and I thought it was worth sharing with my readers. If anyone is suffering from disability hate crime, then they shouldn’t feel alone. There is help out there. If this article persuades anyone to take positive action, then it will have served its purpose.
It’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week 12th – 19th October 2019. Let’s raise awareness of and tackle Disability Hate Crime!
What is Disability Hate crime?
A disability hate crime is a criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim’s impairment or perceived impairment.
What type of incidents can be a disability hate incident?
Verbal and physical abuse, teasing, violence, bullying, online abuse, threatening or insulting texts and damage to property all become hate crimes when they’re motivated by prejudice or hate towards someone because they are disabled.
It can be a one-off incident or part of an ongoing campaign of harassment or intimidation. Hate incidents are not only carried out by strangers. It could be carried out by a carer, a neighbour, a teacher or someone considered a friend.
Mate crime is when someone befriends someone with the intention of taking advantage of them. They pretend to be a friend. Mate crime is a severely under-reported element of disability hate crime committed against people with learning difficulties, in particular.
People who commit mate crimes are often nice to people ‘their victims’ to start with but then the relationship can become insidious. They might start to bully their victim, call them horrible names, ask for and steal money from them, physically and/or sexually abuse the person they befriend.
Take a look at the powerful videos produced by Gwent and Newport People First. These videos are based on real experiences of mate crime.
Mate crime is NOT acceptable! It is a crime. If you or anyone you know is experiencing this, please report it.
Reporting a Hate Crime
If you think you have been a victim of hate crime you can call your local police force to report it on:
- 101 (non-emergency) or
- 999 (if it is an emergency)
If you do not feel ready to go to the police you can also contact Report Hate Crime Wales today 24/7 365 days a year on 0300 3031 982 you can email them at Hate.CrimeWales@victimsupport.org.uk or you can report confidentially online.
Treating someone badly because they are disabled is wrong and against the law. Please don’t suffer in silence, tell someone and report it today!
Reporting leads to positive outcomes
A mate crime case was referred to Victim Support (VS). The victim was a disabled person living in sheltered accommodation. They were befriended by a neighbour who over a period of time received money from them with a promise to repay and also took money from their bank account. The total amount taken was in excess of £17,000.
When they referred to VS, the case was due to be heard in court in three months’ time. They felt “scared to death” about giving evidence in court and the incident had a huge emotional impact on them.
The VS caseworker:
- Discussed ‘mate crime’ with them and provided emotional support over the telephone for the impact of the mate crime
- Discussed special measures for the court date
- Advocated with Witness Care to ensure they were kept updated regarding the trial process and that their wishes were known
- Referred them for a pre-trial visit, which was later done
- Advocated with Witness care to apply for taxi’s for the court day due to their alcohol dependency & low income – This was granted by the Crown Prosecution Service
- Ensured that Witness Care updated them with the sentencing outcome
The client did not have to give evidence in court as the defendant changed their plea to guilty on the day of the trail – They were sentenced to 42 months in prison for 2 counts of fraud. Emotional support was given to the client following this and a personal alarm was provided due to their worries of potential repercussions from the husband of the offender. Safety advice was also given around this issue.
Real case study provided by Report Hate Wales, Victim Support Oct 2019
Victim Support runs the National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre for Wales which is funded by the Welsh Government. They have created a film to help raise awareness of what a hate crime is, the impact hate crimes can have, how to access support and how to report hate crimes. Watch now: https://youtu.be/CmtnRDXGRuY
Scapegoat: Why are we failing disabled people by Katherine Quarmby
“A must-read for anyone aiming to tackle disability hate crime!”