Britain

Violent disability hate crime ‘rose by 41% in a year’

Violent hate crimes against disabled people went up by 41% in a year between 2017/18 to 2018/19, figures suggest.

Figures, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information act, also show that the number of online offences went up by 71%.

Disability charity Leonard Cheshire sent requests to all 43 police forces in England and Wales, with 25 of those able to respond.

The responses showed that police recorded 5,015 offences of hate crime against disabled people, compared to 4,111 the previous year, which was a rise of 22%.

However, the 2017/18 figures showed that 1,805 of the recorded offences involved violence, which rose to 2,538 the following year – a rise of 41%.

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The number of cases that led to a charge, court summons or had been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, had dropped, with seven less in 2018/19 than the year before.

Leonard Cheshire added that the figures from the CPS for 2017/18 seemed to show that the number of successful prosecutions has risen, but referrals from the police had fallen.

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The charity's chief executive Neil Heslop said: "Hate crime against disabled people is significantly up with worrying increases in violent offences.

"Low prosecution levels are unacceptable and disabled people will feel a sense of injustice.

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"Government and police forces must overcome barriers to successful case outcomes for survivors and perpetrators must be brought to account."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are committed to tackling hate crime in all of its forms – including abuse of disabled people.

"We welcome the fact that more victims are having the confidence to come forward and report this despicable abuse, and it's vital that their cases are properly investigated."

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