- 2013 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 2 July 2013
Disability hate crime is a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim as action motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.
But disability hate crime is too often overlooked and unreported. Even so more than 1700 disability hate crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales in 2011-12. Indeed, recent Mencap research showed that 9 out of 10 people with learning disabilities experienced hate crime.
The most recent Joint review of Disability Hate Crime (Police, Probation and Crown Prosecution Services) was in March 2013. It was prompted by the tragic death of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francescca (2009) despite repeated complaints to the police about harassment by youths. The Joint Review warned a similar case could happen again if urgent changes are not made.
This motion calls upon Conference to support its’ findings and recommendations:
Police, Crown Prosecution Service and Probation Trusts should adopt a public, single, clear, uncomplicated definition of disability hate crime and communicate it effectively to the public and staff.
They should, when developing their strategic aims, consider tackling the issue of disability crime as a priority and promote the aim of increased and regular reporting.
Their front-line staff should participate in effective disability hate crime training to improve investigative, prosecution and related skills.
The Law Commission should consider making disability hate crime a specific criminal offence under the law.
To deliver all these measures it will be vital for the new Police Commissioners throughout the country to include dealing with disability hate crime in their Police and Crime Plans. As part of that they should work closely with disability groups and encourage good working practices and training.
These essential measures should be supported by all progressive people. To advance concrete action to realise it, this Conference calls on the National Disabled Members Committee:
1)To make representations to the UNISON Group of MPs for these measures to be debated and supported in Parliament.
2)For these measures to be referred to the relevant Commons Committee for the taking of evidence and deeper examination and monitoring.
3)For representations on all this to be made to the Justice Secretary for national priority backing in the administration of justice.
4)To draw the attention of all Police Commissioners for disability hate crime to be a priority for action in their Police and Crime Plans working closely with representatives of disabled people.
The National Disabled Members Committee should report back to Conference next year on progress made.