2011 - Stand by me campaign
It is a shocking fact that people with a learning disability are all too often victims of abuse, harassment and violence.
People are abused right under our noses
In 2000, Mencap did research which found that as many as 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability had experienced bullying and abuse, with almost half of people suffering verbal abuse and almost a quarter being physically assaulted. The vast majority of these instances of abuse were happening in a public place, and as a society, we were looking the other way.
Disability hate crime became illegal
In 2003 the Criminal Justice Act introduced disability hate crime into law. For the first time it was recognised that some people were committing crimes against disabled people due to prejudice and hostility, and that crimes such as this should receive harsher sentences.
The law was not enough
However this did not stop these crimes from happening, and in 2007 the tragic deaths of Francecca Hardwick, who had a learning disability, and her mother Fiona Pilkington hit the headlines.
After seven years of repeated harassment and abuse from neighbours, and complete inaction from the police and others who they called on for help, Fiona decided that ending her own life and that of her daughter was the only way to stop the torment.
We introduced the charter to help police tackle hate crime effectively
In 2011 Mencap launched the Stand By Me campaign to end disability hate crime, accompanied by a report which found that many police services across the UK had no hate crime structures in place and that victims felt ignored by the police.
We called on police forces to take the police promise – a charter of 10 things they would do to improve how they tackled disability hate crime and served people with a learning disability.
We later called on elected Police and Crime Commissioners to pledge their personal commitment to working with us to end disability hate crime.
Police forces up and down the UK signed the charter
Since 2011, 42 police forces and 25 Police and Crime Commissioners have backed the campaign across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In 2012 we launched a best practice guide which shows how the police’s promises are being put into action.
While there is still a very long way to go before we have stamped out disability hate crime, figures of recorded crimes show that police forces are getting a better grip on the problem and results from the Crime Survey of England and Wales show that the number of disability hate incidents has fallen considerably since 2007.
- Read our easy read guide on what to do if you are a victim of hate crime
- See which Police and Crime Commissioners took the pledge
- See which police services took the pledge