Disabled people 'failed by police'

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices