We're all responsible for tackling disability hate crime says Quarriers.
Each and every one of us has a right to feel safe in our communities: whether we are travelling on public transport, doing our weekly shopping or coming home late at night. Sadly though, this is not the reality – and even more so for people with a disability.
Nine in ten people with learning disabilities report having being targets of harassment and bullying in their communities. Social care charity Quarriers believes that is a statistic we all need to confront.
Quarriers Discovery Group, a peer-led advocacy group for people with learning disabilities feels passionately about this. Members of this group, John Wheeler, Florence McQuilter and Caroline Grey, have spoken at the Scottish Parliament about the need to do more to address disability hate crime and have been central in helping to develop Quarriers’ WAR on Hate Crime: We’re All Responsible campaign.
Hate crime, where someone commits a crime against a person because they have a disability, has been recognised in Scots law since 2009. It can range from bullying and verbal harassment to physical assault and abuse. Hate crime is a form of discrimination that causes pain and depression, infringes individual’s human rights, and prevents people from fully participating in society.
Incidents of disability hate crime are recognised as being severely underreported even compared to other forms of hate crime. Statistics for 2013-14 show a total of 4,148 race related charges were reported in Scotland compared with only 154 disability related charges. People with disabilities may under report incidents due to lack of trust in the system, fear of further intimidation, or a general lack of understanding about rights.
Quarriers campaign aims to raise awareness of hate crime, help people recognise and speak up about hate crime, and provide information for people who are victims or hate crime or witness it. A key message of the campaign is that everybody – you and me, the police, the Criminal Justice System and victims of hate crime themselves – has a responsibility to ensure that hate crime is not acceptable in Scotland today.
We ask you to visit the campaign webpage where you can learn more about the campaign, watch John Wheeler’s story (chairperson of the Discovery group) and sign up to support the campaign.