In Essex very few disability hate crimes are prosecuted each year.
But we know it is an issue that affects many more disabled people than figures suggest and can have horrendous consequences, as high profile cases like that of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter Francecca show.
Over the last 12 months, ecdp has examined in depth the issues around disability hate crime both in Essex and nationally. Our work – which has included a dedicated series of meetings with our members to gather their lived experience, as well as meetings with colleagues across the public and voluntary sectors – has culminated in a report we publish today.
Our report identifies four key areas which need to be examined in order to address disability hate crime. Together, these make up our USER framework for addressing disability hate crime:
- Understanding – there needs to be a greater understanding of disability hate crime
- Signposting and Support – services which signpost and support disabled people when they are victims of hate crime should be widely available and well coordinated
- Education – to ensure wider change for disabled people, we believe education work should be focused on three particular groups of stakeholders: disabled people themselves, professionals and wider society
- Reporting – we believe stronger processes for reporting will increase the number of investigated and prosecuted cases.
It is our primary recommendation that a user-led organisation, working with and for disabled people, is best placed to work in partnership with organisations that have responsibility for hate crime – including local police – to address these four areas.
In practice we suggest that this needs to be co-ordinated centrally by a dedicated Disability Hate Crime Officer who would work across Essex.
More generally, such an approach will:
- Ensure disabled people are at the heart of all work undertaken to address disability hate crime and consulted at every stage of development
- Ensure greater representation of disabled people on hate crime panels, or any strategic system which replaces them
- Encourage partnership working at a strategic level to ensure that organisations share their (sometimes limited) resources to best meet the needs of disabled people. Going forward, this will involve working with other organisations to clarify a coordinated approach to hate crime within Essex.
- Embed a system of peer support for victims and a space for them to share their experiences; for example through both online and face-to-face forums.
We will share copies of our report with all local stakeholders and relevant colleagues. We are also committed to working alongside community partners, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure this vital issue is addressed.
You can download a full and summary version of our report – Disability Hate Crime: Lived experience report – below:
- Disability Hate Crime: Lived experience report (full version)
- Disability Hate Crime: Lived experience report (Executive Summary)
You can also view a copy of the full report using Scribd at the end of this post.
For more information about ecdp’s work on disability hate crime please contact Faye Savage, ecdp’s Lived Experience Officer, by phone on 01245 392310 or by email on .
ecdp Disability Hate Crime Report - May 2011