Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Does disability hate crime exist?

In this article by that title in yesterday's BBC news, Geoff Adams-Spink reviews a series of crimes that have been widely reported in the UK press, and attempts to determine whether they are isolated cases or evidence of intimidation and violence directed at people with disabilities. Here is an excerpt:

For Katharine Quarmby, a journalist who works for Disability Now magazine, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) place too much emphasis on a person's vulnerability, which means that they fail to look for evidence of hate crime.

It is very difficult to get at the extent of the problem: the CPS's own figures have been gathered in such a way that they include crimes committed by, as well as against, disabled people.

Whether it is "bullying", "harassment", "intimidation" or "hate crime" depends upon your perspective.

What is clear is that there are people who despise others for their difference and who behave in ways that make them feel victimised, excluded and afraid.