The Crown Prosecution Service today released figures showing the number of prosecutions for hate crimes against disabled people has risen by 41.3% in the last year.
Mencap issue the below statement highlighting the need for everyone in the criminal justice system to take disability hate crime seriously and apply the full strength of the law.
Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap said:
“Hate crimes against disabled people have been under-reported, not been identified and not charged appropriately by police, meaning perpetrators have not been brought to justice. Prosecution rates have been as low as 1% in recent years, giving disabled people little confidence that reporting hate crime will lead to action being taken.
“The fact prosecutions for disability hate crimes have risen by over 40% in the last year is welcome and shows intent from the justice system that hate crimes against disabled people will not be tolerated.
“Nonetheless, the ongoing level of hate crime against disabled people is clear evidence of the levels of hostility and negative attitudes that people have to face.
“For too long the bullying, intimidation and harassment of disabled people has not been treated as seriously as crimes against other minority groups. Everyone working in the criminal justice system must take disability hate crime seriously and apply the full strength of the law.
“Alongside this, greater awareness of disability amongst the public is needed to tackle negative attitudes, and must be taught from an early age in schools, so children respect and value all their peers and understand why it is unacceptable to victimise someone because of their disability.”