Keeping people safe from hate crime

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council, the police and other partners are working together to raise awareness about hate crime against people with a disability.

The ‘Keeping People Safe’ group has been set up by the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board and the Learning Disability Partnership Board to inform front line staff and the public about what a hate crime is and how it should be reported. The group is working with the ‘Smile! Stop hate crime’ campaign to carry out a series of activities including:

running workshops about hate crime in day centres

holding workshops and assemblies in schools

holding events for staff who work with people with learning disabilities.

The latest figures from Nottinghamshire Police show there were 1310 hate incidents in 2011, with 81 victims stating that they had a disability. This is slightly lower than in 2010 where there were 1463 hate incidents and 83 victims who stated they had a disability.

In a recent hate crime survey the County Council carried out with disabled people, 40% of people said they did not report attacks because they were embarrassed and 33% said they saw it as ‘just part of everyday life’.

In one Nottinghamshire case last year, a young couple with learning disabilities were victims of anti-social behaviour. The police received 27 calls from residents in the area in 2011, ranging from abusive comments, threats and criminal damage to property. The constant stress caused was having an increasingly detrimental effect on the couple and, despite support from a number of agencies and action taken against the perpetrators, they eventually decided to move.

Coun Stuart Wallace, Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It is despicable that people suffer regular physical attacks, name calling and other abuse just because of their disability.

“The ‘Keeping People Safe’ group has been tasked with making sure that disabled people recognise that the abuse they may be suffering is a hate crime and that they know how to report it. They are also targeting front line staff, such as police officers and day services staff, so they can support any victims and help them to report incidents.”