Disabled people 'failed by police'
Sunday 19 June 2011
Disabled people are being failed by police and left to suffer violence, harassment and abuse, a learning disability charity said.
Mencap, which is launching a three-year campaign against hate crime, said there was a "general lack of police understanding of disability hate crime" and an absence of a strategy to tackle it.
The report comes after Fiona Pilkington, 38, killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, in 2007 following 10 years of sustained abuse and harassment by a gang in Leicestershire.
Officers are not taking reports of such crimes seriously enough, risking "years of harassment and anti-social behaviour escalating into more serious incidents", the charity said.
The Stand By Me campaign called for a dedicated officer within each force to deal with hate crime and said all officers should be trained to spot and tackle the crime.
Forces should also improve their systems to get "a better sense of the true scale of the problem", the charity said.
One in two people believe those with disabilities are more likely to be the targets of abusive comments or aggressive behaviour than others, a poll of more than 1,000 people showed.
Two in three consider abusive comments such as name calling directed at someone with a disability as a hate crime, rising to three in four when aggressive behaviour such as pushing or hitting was involved.
Mencap also highlighted the death of David Askew, 64, who collapsed and died on March 10 last year after an incident when youths had reportedly thrown a wheelie bin around and tampered with his mother's mobility scooter.
Mr Askew, who had learning difficulties, and his family were plagued for years by yobs on the sprawling council estate in Hattersley, Tameside, and called police 88 times between January 2004 and March 2010.
Mark Goldring, Mencap's chief executive, said: "When hate crime takes hold it stops people living their lives in the way they want to.
"The tragic deaths of Fiona Pilkington and Francecca Hardwick in 2007 and David Askew in 2010 are just two examples of where low-level harassment ignored by police was allowed to escalate into sustained abuse with fatal consequences."
He went on: "It is estimated that as many as nine out of 10 people with a learning disability are verbally harassed or exposed to violence due to their disability.
"Today's report proves that police have not got to grips with disability hate crime, let alone crime against people with a learning disability.
"Too often they accept abuse as a part of their daily life. Early intervention is vital if people with disabilities are not to live in fear."
A Home Office spokesman said: "Everyone should have the freedom to live their lives without fear of targeted hostility or harassment.
"Under this Government, and for the first time, police are recording hate crime data centrally.
"This will help the police to target resources more effectively and better protect victims."
:: Ipsos Mori interviewed a representative sample of 1,029 adults aged 15 plus across Great Britain between March 11 and 17.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
lifeIt takes year-long dedication to get Selfridges ready for 25 December. And they're already working on plans for 2015...
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
Coriolanus, theatre review: 'Tom Hiddleston has blazing stellar power'
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
A special delivery: Behind the scenes on the set of 'Call the Midwife'
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Police forces probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >