Domestic Abuse, Hate Crime and Disabled People

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2015 National Disabled Members' Conference
3 July 2015
Carried as Amended

This Conference is concerned about the high number of domestic abuse that some disabled people are facing. The World Health Organisation’s 2013 World Report on Disability highlighted abuse as a leading cause of death among disabled people. However, little is known about the true extent to which disabled people experience abuse and whether associated issues such as financial pressures, isolation or stress and anxiety are factors that increase the like of disability related domestic abuse.

Conference is also concerned that Disability Hate Crime is at the highest level since records began. Disabled people are four times more likely to be violently attacked than non-disabled people. 90% of learning disabled people have been bullied in the last year with 20% reporting they have been attacked at least once a week over the last year. There is no doubt that the anti-scrounger propaganda spouted by the government and sections of the media encourages hostility and violence towards disabled people.

Abuse and hate crime at home, at work, on public transport, on the street and the internet are becoming a daily experience. Many disabled people see this as such a part of everyday life that they go to extraordinary lengths to avoid hostile and violent behaviour that they are limiting their own lives.

So called ‘low level’ harassment often escalates into more serious crime, including murder. The tendency of agencies, including the police, to see disabled people “as already a victim” can affect the way they deal with disability related crimes. There should not be two tiers of safety and security, one for disabled people and another for everyone else.

Disability related domestic abuse and disability related hate crime are often ignored or hidden away in the mistaken belief that if it is not seen or heard about it cannot be happening. But it is happening and we need to take action now to stop this epidemic of intolerance spreading further.

Conference instructs the National Disabled Members Committee to work with the NEC to:

1.Work with organisations such as Refuge and Women’s Aid to gather evidence on the levels and causes of disability related domestic violence;

2.Implement a media campaign to raise awareness of and tackle disability related domestic abuse and disability related hate crime; and

3.Issue guidance to Branches and Regions on how to support Disabled Members who have been affected by domestic violence or hate crime.