Learning Disability Week 2012 has now taken place, but Mencap Northern Ireland is continuing to help raise awareness of our Stand by Me campaign on hate crime.
Mencap Northern Ireland held events during Learning Disability Week to raise awareness of our ‘Stand by me’ campaign against hate crime. At these events, people with a learning disability talked about hate crime and what makes them feel safe in their community. Read more about these events below:
Over 130 people came to our events in Derry/Londonderry and Omagh during Learning Disability Week in Northern Ireland to share their experiences and find out what they can do if they are victims of hate crime or if they witness a hate crime including reporting online or in person. At our fun day in Belfast, people with a learning disability and their families told us what makes them feel safe and welcome in their local community.
Most people said that what made them feel safe was friends and family living near them, being friends with their neighbours, their home, locking doors and windows, and speaking to the police. Others said: "knowing that there are places to report incidents" and "telling someone where I am going".
We were joined at our events by self advocates Michael Cole, and Ian Hayes, the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), Victim Support, Hands Off my Friend, Be Safe Stay Safe Project.
Information about staying safe online was provided by Mencap’s LiveNet Project. The events were supported by the local councils in Derry/Londonderry and Omagh, with local council representatives attending the events. One person commented, "I found the event overall very good and I now know that there are people who can help".
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.
Self advocate Ian hayes shared his story at the Omagh event
During Learning Disability Week, Mencap in Northern Ireland launched Mencap’s best practice report on how police services are dealing with hate crime, 'How to stand by me; sharing best achievement in tackling crime'. Following the event the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) signed up to Mencap’s ten police promises. We are looking forward to working with the PSNI to ensure that people with a learning disability do enjoy equal access to services and support provide by the police.
For information about agencies that can help, visit the following websites:
Even though Learning Disability Week 2012 has taken place, you can still get involved! We want the police to know that tackling disability hate crime is important to lots of people.
Resources to help you get started: