Hate crimes against disabled reach record high

Hate crimes against disabled people in the North East reached a record high last year, new figures reveal.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 11:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 11:59 am
Hate crime has increased in the Northumbria Police area

Home Office data shows ​391 disability hate crimes were recorded by Northumbria Police in 2019-20 – a rise of 36% compared to the previous year, when 287 incidents were reported, and the highest figure since comparable records began in 2011-12.

Disability hate crimes include assault, harassment and criminal damage against someone with a physical or learning disability, or mental health problem and, nationally, 8,500 such offences were recorded over the year.

A total 2,852 hate crimes of all types were recorded by Northumbria Police in the year to March – up six per cent on 2018-19.

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Disability charity Leonard Cheshire has called for tougher action on the "abhorrent" crime, after analysis of the figures found only around two per cent of disability hate incidents result in a charge or summons.

Terry McCorry, a disability hate crime advocate for Leonard Cheshire, said: “This intolerable crime can seriously impact the lives of disabled people who are already marginalised by society.

"Social isolation can be a huge issue for disabled people and disability hate crime only serves to make people feel more reluctant to get out and about."

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, hate crime lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Everyone has the right to live their lives without fear of being attacked, either physically or verbally.

"Police take all reports of threats and abuse seriously and we will work to bring perpetrators to justice."

The Home Office said those who commit “hateful attacks should feel the full force of the law”.