Hate crimes against disabled children rise 150 per cent in two years

'The lack of support and outright abuse from the general public is truly heart breaking'

Harriet Agerholm
Monday 16 October 2017 01:59 BST
Reported abuse of disabled people has more than doubled in a year
Reported abuse of disabled people has more than doubled in a year (iStockphoto)

Reports of hate crimes against disabled children have risen nearly 150 per cent in two years, new figures have revealed.

Data released by police forces across the UK showed reported incidents rose from 181 to 450 last year – a 148 per cent rise.

It came amid an overall rise in reported abuse of disabled people, which more than doubled between 2014/15 and 2015/16, jumping from 1,531 to 3,079.

The figures, obtained by the BBC from police forces under freedom of information laws, include both abuse online and in person.

Only 29 of the 45 forces across the country provided full responses to the request, meaning the number of reported incidents was likely to be higher.

Disability hate crime can range between online abuse and physical violence in which the victim was targeted because of their disability.

Amanda Batten of the Disabled Children's Partnership told the BBC the survey’s findings mirror a recent study it had carried out which revealed hate crime and abuse was commonly reported by the parents of disabled children.

“Families often feel like they can't go into busy public spaces or post images onto social media for fear of being publicly shamed or having to be submitted to people telling them that their child must lack quality of life because of their disability,” she said.

“The idea that so many parents and children with a disability are facing such a lack of support and outright abuse from the general public is truly heart breaking.”

The Crown Prosecution Service for England and Wales has recorded year on year increases in prosecutions and convictions for disability hate crimes.

The Home Office said the rise was due to victims and their families becoming more willing to report the abuse they suffered.

A home office spokesman said: “All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable and the UK has some of the strongest laws in the world to tackle it.

“Our hate crime action plan has improved the response of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to these horrendous attacks.

“We are still concerned that disability hate crime is significantly under-reported by victims, and that is why the government is working with community groups to raise awareness of how to report it amongst, disabled people, their carers and families.”

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