This week is Hate Crime Awareness Week – and one charity is calling for a change in the way in which disability hate crime is handled in the UK.
Despite the work that has taken place since the tragic deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter nine years ago, when Fiona killed both herself and her disabled daughter after years of abuse from a local gang, not enough is being done to prevent hate crimes against disabled people.
Hate crime has a colossal impact on its victim, damaging their confidence, independence and sometimes even taking their lives. It’s serious – but campaigners fear it’s not being taken seriously enough.
New research conduction by charity Dimensions shows that there’s been little improvement in the daily abuse faced by people with learning disabilities and autism. Home Office stats show that there’s been a 25% increase in hate crime, including 2,500 reported hate crimes against people with disabilities – however, with unreported crimes taken into account, it’s estimated that this figure is closer to 70,000 per year.
This week, Dimensions has launched a new campaign in partnership with a number of different organisations calling for major changes to the law to ensure that disabled people are safe and protected. Amongst the changes Dimensions are asking for are:
- The separation of disability hate crime statistics compiled by the police and others into learning disability/autism categories amongst other disabilities
- A change in the law to make disability hate online a crime
- Steps to make it easier for people with learning disabilities to report hate crime
The campaign, dubbed ‘I’m with Sam’, is asking politicians, civil servants, parents, teachers, police and care professionals to work together to make these changes a reality.
Sam represents the 73% of people with learning disabilities who have experienced hate crime. Sam’s been brought to life to help people understand just what kind of impact abuse can have on a person. On the Dimensions site, Sam shares a number of stories – all real stories from real people who have experienced hate crime.
To show your support, use the hashtage #ImwithSam on social media to spread the word, or head to the Dimensions site to join the campaign.