If you experience or witness a disability hate crime, it is important to report it to the police and receive the necessary support. If you don’t want to go to the police yourself, Disability Equality North West (DENW) can help you report it and put you in touch with services that will help you deal with any emotional stress you may be experiencing.
Read on to find out more about how to report a disability hate crime, and what to expect when you do.
What is a disability hate crime?
If you feel someone has treated you badly, insulted you or hurt you physically because you look or sound different, have a carer, use specialist equipment or need extra support, this may be a disability hate crime.
The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial or long term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Furthermore, under the Equality Act 2010, people with cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis are defined as disabled from when their diagnosis is made.
There were over 7,000 disability hate crimes recorded in 2018, up by 30 per cent from the previous year. A disability hate crime is defined as:
‘Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.’
This means if you believe something is a hate crime, it should be recorded as such by the person you report it to. The police take all hate crime very seriously, and if a crime is prosecuted as a hate crime, it can result in a stronger sentence due to the hate-related factor.
A hate crime can be committed in a number of ways. It can include:
Insults and name-calling (verbal abuse)
Bullying and making fun of someone
Damaging property such as vandalism, graffiti or setting fires
Intimidation or threats
Physical attacks such as kicking, pushing, spitting and hitting
Taking someone’s money (financial abuse)
Taking over someone’s home or property
Sending abusive or nasty letters, emails, or social media posts.
How to report a disability hate crime
If you or the victim is feeling threatened or being attacked, call 999 immediately and ask for the police, and an ambulance too if medical treatment is needed.
If the incident is not taking place at that moment, you can also report a crime by calling your local police on 101, or by completing an incident reporting form online on the True Vision website: www.report-it.org.uk You can make a report without giving your own information, but you are encouraged to give as many details as you can, as this may help in a future court case against the offender.
If you use the form on www.report-it.org.uk it is forwarded to the police immediately, but it may take several hours to get a response. Therefore, if you feel you are in danger, anyone is seriously hurt, or you believe the offender may still be present, you should call 999 instead for immediate help.
If you would like some help with reporting a disability hate crime in any way, you can go through DENW, which is an accredited third-party reporting centre.
To contact DENW, call 01772 558863 and pick option 2. Or, you can text 07841 017 472. You can email DENW on firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting a hate crime to the police can be a difficult thing to do, but it is important to do so. DENW has the skills and experience needed to help you as a disabled person to report a hate crime and can help you access support services afterwards. DENW will ensure you feel safe and are protected from further harm, and make sure you feel in control of the whole process. You will be provided with a safe, non-judgemental space in which to talk and be listened to. All the information you provide is treated as confidential.
If you’d like to speak to someone in person about a disability hate crime you have experienced or witnessed, you can visit DENW at 103 Church Street, Preston, PR1 3BS between 9.30am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). You can also call DENW using the number above and leave a message, and DENW will arrange an appointment for you with a Hate Crime Worker.