Learning disability charity Mencap has welcomed the publication of the Government's hate crime action plan. 'Challenge it, Report it, Stop it' outlines the Government's plan to combat hate crime, by working with local agencies, voluntary organisations and its independent advisory group to meet three key objectives:

  • Preventing hate crime happening by challenging the attitudes and behaviours that foster hatred, and encouraging early intervention to reduce the risk of incidents escalating
  • Increasing the reporting of hate crime that occurs by building victims' confidence to come forward and seek justice, and working with partners at national and local level to ensure the right support is available when they do
  • Working with the agencies that make up the criminal justice system to improve the operational response to hate crime. The Home Office wants a more effective process, with agencies identifying hate crimes early, managing cases jointly and dealing with offenders robustly.

In 2010, 48,127 hate crimes were recorded by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, of which, 1,569 were disability hate crimes, according to Home Office figures. David Congdon, Mencap's head of campaigns and policy, welcomed the Government's plan. "The report rightly recognises the devastating and long-lasting impact disability hate crime has on people's lives. We hope this plan will provide the strategic direction that has been lacking. "The Government's commitment to challenge negative media portrayals of disabled people and improve the training and skills of professionals are positive steps in the right direction. We hope that this and the possibility of creating a specific offence of disability hate crime will have a real and lasting effect on the experiences of disabled people."