Following the yesterday’s news story ‘Don’t Stand by: a message to all’, Stephen Brookes of the Disability Hate Crime Network has sent through a response and asked that this is published. Please see below for Stephen’s message to all:
‘The importance of speaking out, being listened to, getting help and support and at the same time giving confidence to others to report is evidenced in the emotional video at the heart of yesterday’s news story.
These stories are all too frequently heard by those of us working to challenge disability hate crime. The regularly identified problems of repeated intimidation from the perpetrators and the tendency the victim to accept the victimisation as part of everyday life, added to negative perceptions of social services, CPS and the police, are no doubt shared by other victims of hate crime. So why bother to report?.
In the UK, the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and Francecca Hardwick in 2007 increased the political and academic attention on this issue. But sometimes that is not enough, for we need to remember that the victim of a hate crime is not just the direct victim, but also the group and wider society of which the individual is a part.
We must think about the impact that disability hate crime has on its all its prime and associated victims. Although we may not see it and we may not hear it, it is happening and it is a regular occurrence for many people with disabilities.
We need to jointly improve knowledge of Disability Hate Crime and make victims less fearful of reporting. That is our prime aim.’