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Hate Crime & It’s Impact
National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place every year in October. This year, at the beginning of National Hate Crime Awareness week, it was reported that disability hate crimes have increased by a third in the last year.
This is a very shocking figure and hate crime is a really important issue for people with learning disabilities, so we thought we would explain some of the issues involved and how they can affect people with learning disabilities.
Hate crime is when someone targets you because of who you are.
This could be because of your race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
Abuse can be in person or online and can include threats, intimidation, damage to property, or physical attacks such as hitting, spitting, pushing or kicking.
For example, in a recent interview with Thames Valley Police, My Life My Choice member Andy said that he had been spat at, threatened and had people put their hands around his throat.
Hate crime can have a huge effect on the victims. It can make people very sad or very angry; it can damage people’s self-confidence, and it can make them afraid to go out in society.
Experiencing hate crime can be even worse than experiencing other types of crimes because you have been targeted because of who you are, or who or what your attacker thinks you are.
In a recent interview with Thames Valley Police, My Life My Choice member Paul said that after being physically attacked he was scared to go out for several months. He said, “sometimes I felt like committing suicide because of what happened” and that he felt worthless and really angry.
Hate crime can also have a big impact on the community. For example, if one person with learning disabilities experiences hate crime, it can make other people with learning disabilities feel upset, angry and afraid that they might be attacked too.
At My Life My Choice, we have done lots of work over the years to raise awareness of the impacts of hate crime on people with learning disabilities and reduce hate crime in general. For example, we made a campaign video ‘running hate crime out of town’ and we have worked with Thames Valley Police to make sure all their resources on hate crime are accessible to people with learning disabilities.
You can find out more about our campaign here: www.mylifemychoice.org.uk/pages/22-stop-hate-crime
If you experience or witness hate crime it is really important that you report it to the police so that they can deal with the perpetrators and protect any victims. You can do this by either calling 101 to report a crime or calling 999 in an emergency.
You can also report online at through your local police force’s website, for example: thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
If you don’t want to speak to the police you can contact Victims First for confidential advice and support by calling 0300 1234 148 going to victims-first.org.uk
Hate Crime is a really important issue in society, and particularly for people with learning disabilities. The best way, we think, to reduce hate crime is to change people’s views and culture so that nobody judges anybody else for who they are, or for being different.
This is a big change and very hard to achieve but we believe it is possible, and starts with individual people and actions treating everyone as equal.
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