Silent victims of Barrow hate crime ‘must speak up’
Last updated at 16:40, Wednesday, 20 February 2013
DISABLED victims of hate crime are being urged to speak out amid fears they may be suffering in silence.
Cumbria police and the Crown Prosecution Service have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the crime today.
Their concerns have grown after figures showed only 17 disability hate crimes were reported to police in Cumbria in 2012, in comparison to 166 reports of race hate crime.
Assistant chief constable Jerry Graham said: “Targeting someone based on their real or perceived vulnerability is inexcusable – but we can only take action when we know a crime has taken place.
“Hate crime in any form is unacceptable and we need the help of the whole community. We need the public to not turn a blind eye and instead support those with physical, mental or learning disabilities by contacting police if you witness them being targeted.”
He said disabled advocacy groups had reported people being shouted at, slapped, spat at or having chewing gum thrown at them.
“The majority also said that they didn’t report this to police because they hadn’t realised this behaviour could be considered criminal,” ACC Graham added.
Over the next eight weeks, police will be distributing flyers with information about disability hate crime and adverts recorded by disabled people will be played on CFM Radio.
Alison Mutch, CPS North West area hate crime co-ordinator, said: “The ‘mismatch’ between the amount of abuse being reported by disabled people in surveys and what is reported to the police needs to be addressed.
“We can only prosecute cases when they are brought to the attention of the police.”
Margaret Burrow MBE, the honorary secretary of Barrow and District Disability Association, said there were instances of disability hate crime in Furness.
Mrs Burrow, a disabled member of the Independent Advisory Group that advises police in Cumbria, said: “It is something that does go on and does go unreported to police.
“A lot of people feel quite vulnerable and feel there may be reprisals. I can’t stress enough that disabled people must speak out. They must not just put up with it.
“We are very lucky in Barrow in that we have a very caring police force and they really do want to know about these issues.’’
For more information about disability hate crime and how to help combat it go to www.cps.gov.uk or www.cumbria.police.uk
First published at 16:11, Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
I have to agree with Brian, it is a waste of time and just distresses you even more to complain. I have suffered years of abuse from my next door neighbours and except for one occasion, the powers that be prefer to believe the abusers. i now live like a prisoner in my home, if i can call it that. I do not open my curtains, do not go into my garden and keep my doors and windows locked all the time. I will not answer the door unless i know who is there. These people just do what they like because they know they can. I even made a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority and was basically told i was over reacting. I will never ring the police again, who among others told me i should move house! You can't get help with that either, unless you are a single parent on benefits. Totally Disgusted
Hate crime in barrow is totally unacceptable & when ever it raises its' ugly head it should be challenged straight away & yes I don't have a lot of faith in the law as such but it should be reported regardless.
Whether you are disabled, black, Asian, gay or what ever we must not tollerate it!!!!
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