As Learning Disability week arrives, Mencap has warned that changes in the police force could undo the progress made on disability hate crime.
Marking the start of Learning Disability Week (18th of June - 22nd of June) campaigners are stressing the importance of fighting crimes committed against people with disabilities, as part of the Stand by Me campaign launched by Mencap last year.
According to disability charity, Scope almost 60 percent of disabled people say they have been a victim of violence or hostility. Polices forces across the UK are now getting together and working to improve the way they support victims of hate crime, with 34 of the UK's 43 police forces, signing the Stand by Me promise.
Depsite this progress, the reporting of disability hate crime is still only believed to represent only a small amount of the actual incidents. According to the Association of Chief Police, just 1,569 cases were actually reported in 2011.
Mencap is urging campaigners to continue to fight to make sure that things keep improving. Chief Executive of the charity, Mark Goldring said:
“Hate crime and harassment are unfortunately a daily reality for many people with a learning disability
"When hate crime takes hold, it can have serious and even fatal consequences.
"Mencap is calling on police services to work with us to do more to build trust between the police and people with a learning disability, to offer greater support to hate crime victims and to improve conviction rates.”
Attention in England and Wales is now being focused on new police and crime commissioners (PCCs) who will be elected to their roles in November 2012. As part of their job, they will take on the responsibilities of existing police authorities and decide priorities for their area. During Learning Disability Week, PCC candidates are to face questions from disabled people, their carers, and their families, who will ask that new police and crime plans contain a commitment to stopping disability hate crime. High profile figures such as Falklands veteran, Simon Weston and politician John Prescott, have already declared themselves as police and crime commissioner candidates.
“This year, will see huge changes in the way that police forces set their priorities and are held to account,” Mark Goldring continued: “Mencap is calling on police and crime commissioners across England and Wales to stand by people with a learning disability and commit to tackling disability hate crime as a priority, so that we don’t reverse the positive progress that has been made in recent years.”
Events are to be held throughout the week in the UK, to raise awareness of the disability hate crime campaign. Find out more about Learning Disability Week and how to get involved by going to: http://www.mencap.org.uk/campaigns/learning-disability-week
Read what DG writer, Kerry Barr thinks about disability hate crime and the media's involvement, http://www.dancinggiraffe.com/work-money/benefits/20120614/disability-ha...