Everyone should be able to go out and about without fear of being called names, being harassed or being the victim of crime. Mencap is working with other organisations to help put a stop to hate crime.
What is disability hate crime?
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) see disability hate crime as any incident that a person believes was done to them because of their disability.
Disability hate crime continues to be under reported, with only 33 incidents of disability hate crime reported to the PSNI in 2011/12. For many different reasons, people who experience disability hate crime are not reporting them to the police.
With the ongoing work of Mencap and other disability organisations in Northern Ireland, the number of incidents of disability hate crime doubled in 2012/13.
My experience of hate crime
Figures show that 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability have been the victim of a hate crime. Mencap self advocate Ian Hayes was one of them.
Through my life, I have experienced verbal, emotional and physical abuse – just because of my disabilities. I have been mocked, and I have been called hurtful names by other. I did eventually get the strength to stand up to those who treated me like this – however the fear never leaves you.
Disability Hate Crime Advocate
Mencap believes that people with a learning disability should be free from the fear of hate crime and that all parts of the criminal justice system, including the police and courts, should work with people with a learning disability to stop it.
In 2013 Shane Gorman became the first disability hate crime advocate. Funded by the PSNI and Northern Ireland Housing Executive and supported by partner organisations Leonard Cheshire Disability, Disabilty Action and Mencap.
As a disability hate crime advocate, I aim to reduce the number of disabled people suffering from hate crime in silence by providing an advocacy service. The role’s main aim is to support disabled people and their carers with reporting hate crime.Paragraph text here
Find out more about the disability hate crime advocate and his role here and read his article ‘Everyone knows what a hate crime is – don’t they.’
Be Safe Stay Safe
Would you like to know more about being safe in your home and when your are out and about? The Be Safe Stay Safe project provides training to groups of people with a range of disabilities throughout Northern Ireland to help them stay safe in their own homes and in their communities, and to raise awareness about disability hate crime and how to deal with it.
The project is led by Leonard Cheshire Disability, with support from partner organisations including Mencap. Find out more on the Be Safe Stay Safe website.
Have you experience disability hate crime?
If you have experience disability hate crime contact your local police station or report it here using the PSNI's online form.
For more information about agencies that can help, visit the following websites: