Mate crime is a disability hate crime that needs to be stamped out. That’s according to Wirral Autistic Society, which has commissioned a survey into the extent of mate crime across Merseyside.
The charity, founded in 1968, employs over 800 people and supports more than 300 people with autism across the region.
Mate crime is a term used to describe a false relationship, where someone befriends a vulnerable person, such as someone with autism, and then uses that friendship to manipulate or bully. In young children, this can be as simple as pushing and shoving in the playground. In the case of adults, vulnerable people have been manipulated into taking part in criminal acts or giving away money or possessions.
Chief executive of Wirral Autistic Society, Robin Bush, said, “Last year a National Autistic Society research project found that nearly half of adults with autism had been abused by someone they thought of as a friend. It made them feel anxious, isolated and lonely. Mate crime is a horrible, subtle crime which can have terrible consequences and it needs to be recognised for what it is and stamped out.
“So that we can understand the extent of this issue across our region, we are asking people with autism and their families and carers to help us by completing a simple survey questionnaire, which is available on our website. We want to understand which age groups are most vulnerable to mate crime and
what form the bullying takes.
“Gathering this information is the first step in our campaign and we are keen to spread the word about the survey so that it is a true reflection of what is happening in our communities. If anyone is upset about any of the issues raised in the survey, they can include their details in the questionnaire and we’ll contact them and make sure they find help.”