15% of people have witnessed at least one hate crime or hate incident based on disability in the last year, according to research released today by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on Holocaust Memorial Day.
In total, over a quarter (27%) say they’ve witnessed a form of hate crime or hate incident in the last year, defined as acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. More than two thirds (69%) of those who’ve witnessed abuse of this kind say they regret not challenging it.
The research focused on five centrally monitored characteristics; race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs; sexual orientation; disability; and transgender identity.
Younger people seem more willing to challenge a hate crime or incident by speaking to the person responsible for the abuse. One in six (17%) of 16-24 year-olds said they had intervened during an incident in this way, compared to one in eight (13%) of 25-34 year olds and just 7% of 35-44 year olds.
7% of respondents said they themselves had been a victim of a hate incident or crime based on disability.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Chief Executive Olivia Marks-Woldman says:
“The theme for the thousands of Holocaust Memorial Day events taking place across the country today is ‘Don’t stand by’, and these figures show just how important that message is. Today is about remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, but it’s also about finding ways to make sure they can never happen again. We know that silence and indifference in the face of discrimination and hatred allows persecution to take root, so we want to encourage people to stand up and speak out, in the way many brave souls have in the past.”
Forms of abuse
Across all incidents, verbal abuse such as name calling was cited as the most common form of hate crime or incident, seen by three in four (75%) of those who’d witnessed something in the last year. Nearly a third (30%) said they’d seen harassment, a fifth (20%) said they’d witnessed threats of violence, and 14% had seen physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing or spitting.
Victimisation on social media
More than a quarter of people (28%) said they’d witnessed abuse online through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Three quarters (77%) said they felt that there is no difference between bullying or ‘trolling’ someone online and shouting abuse in the street.
Olivia Marks-Woldman added, “As well as taking stock of what’s happening in our own communities here in the UK today, we also need to be mindful of the fact that genocide is continuing in Darfur, where thousands of people have been murdered and millions have been forced to flee to makeshift refugee camps. We all need to reflect on the fact that the path to genocide begins with exclusion and discrimination, and that standing by allows hatred to take hold.”