Survey states: 85% of disabled encounter some form of verbal, physical or financial abuse

Posted Posted by in News   shareShare2014


· Over half of survey respondents unsatisfied with way police handled case
· Six in ten don’t even report incidents to police

A new report “Hidden Hate” has uncovered widespread dissatisfaction with how the criminal justice system deals with hate crime against people with disabilities. New specialist research of 131 disabled people in London carried out for the report showed that 85% of respondents encountered abuse, 59% of those failed to report the incident to authorities and over half had been unsatisfied with how the police had handled the case.

Key recommendations in the report are:

  • The Metropolitan Police should investigate the cost of adopting the “Pegasus (computer software) system” to enable them to immediately identify disabled people.
  • The Met should adopt the proposal of internally and externally advertise the importance and impact of hate crime on victims.
  • It should be mandatory for the Metropolitan Police to initially regard a crime against a disabled person as a potential hate crime.
  • The Met, in conjunction with London’s boroughs, should ensure that disabled people have a third party reporting centre available to them, providing an accessible means of reporting a hate crime committed against them.
  • The Law Commission should reconsider its decision not to include disability in hate crime legislation.


Conservative London Assembly Member, Victoria Borwick, author of the report said:

“From our research it is clear that disability hate crime is not handled as well as racial and homophobic hate crime. Our survey clearly showed that those with physical and learning disabilities feel that the criminal justice system does not work well for them when reporting crime. The police are working all the time to improve the service for all Londoners, including those with disabilities, but clearly so much more is needed to be done. I have submitted my report and its recommendations to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime for consideration”.


Case Study:

Ms. Ahmed, who has a speech impediment in the form of a stammer, was continually harassed by a former gang member who was rehoused as her next door neighbour. The individual persistently created a lot of noise from his house and Ms. Ahmed decided to complain. The individual took exception to Ms. Ahmed’s complaint and proceeded to harass her, persistently imitating her stammer in the process . The situation reached a pivotal point when according to Ms. Ahmed, the man threatened to kill her.

Ms. Ahmed decided at that point, to report the incident to the Metropolitan Police. Ms. Ahmed noted that she immediately got the impression that the police were not taking her report seriously because of her stammer.

After making the report, Ms. Ahmed was informed by a Metropolitan Police officer that the way she had been speaking to them raised questions about the state of her mental health, effectively discrediting her evidence.




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– The survey: 131 people with disabilities in London were questioned online and in easy-read format from May to August 2014 via specialist disability groups including the Disability Hate Crime Network, disability organisation, Waltham Forest based disability organisation, Stay Safe East and the Kensington and Chelsea based disability organisation, Full of Life. The easy-read version of our survey was also produced in conjunction with Mencap to be sent to various disability organisations based in London.
– The “Pegasus System” is specifically designed to help disabled people who wish to report a crime to the police. The PIN–based programme enables disabled people, making emergency calls, to quote Pegasus and their personal PIN when they call. The operator then obtains access to information regarding the individual’s disability or impairment along with their address.