Disability hate crime, a case study

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Naveenat Sahota (Police, Local Comms, Thames Valley)

Last year, in May a blind victim and his family were subjected to anti-social behaviour by a neighbour for quite some time. A boy, who lived nearby, damaged their car, knocked on their front door and ran away. When answering the door, the offender shouted verbal abuse at the victim, making reference to his disability.

The victim reported the offences to us via 101 and we investigated the criminal offences committed. The 17 year-old boy admitted both offences at court. On the evening of the case, the victim called the investigating officer to thank her for all the hard work to put the case through court and stated ‘I know there is a lot of paperwork involved in getting a cases to court so thank you for all the time you spent on our case’.

It is important to remember if anyone is targeting you because of your disability; it is a crime. Don’t suffer in silence, please speak out today so the police can take action and bring offenders to justice. Anyone who may be suffering as a victim is encouraged to please report any incidents to us as soon as possible by calling 101.

If you feel you are unable to report the crime to the police for whatever reason, you can contact independent charities such as Stop Hate UK and True Vision in confidence.

In Sep 2012, an altercation between a man and the victim that was autistic, registered deaf and blind occurred at a take away restaurant in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.

The victim was sitting at a table, the offender attempted to remove this table and staff members requested that he stop it and explained the man is disabled. The offender became aggressive and threw a burger at the victim, which hit him in the face. The victim was quite upset and distressed from this incident.

He was arrested and charged for common assault. The investigating officer liaised with the Neighbourhood team to provide victim support, follow up checks and carry out risk management.

Hate crime in all its forms in unacceptable and Thames Valley Police will not tolerate any hate crime or incident. If we know about it, we can do something about it and protect and support victims. We cannot turn a blind eye to people being mistreated in this manner and we can all work together to bring a stop to disability hate crime.

There is more information about disability hate crime, how to spot the signs someone may be a victim, how to report disability hate crime and how to obtain support for victims and witnesses on our website: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/aboutus/aboutus-ead/aboutus-ead-hate-crime/aboutus-ead-disability-hate-crime.htm

More information about how to report disability hate crime incidents via Stop Hate UK and True Vision can found here:
http://www.stophateuk.org/talk-to-us/
http://www.report-it.org.uk/report_a_hate_crime

If you live in Buckinghamshire, victims of hate crime can report using the support line on 0845 38 99 528 or email shorehamvcu@victimsupport.org.uk.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers (opens new window) anonymously on 0800 555 111 No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

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