Learning disability charity Brandon Trust has called for the government and local communities to do more to tackle the issues of disability hate and mate crime as a survey has revealed widespread ignorance of both among the general public.
To coincide with the publishing of the charity’s new report, 100 Voices on Personal Safety, a UK-wide survey involving 2,000 adults was carried out on behalf of the charity. It found that 72% of those questioned did not know what disability hate crime was and only a quarter (23%) said they would report such a crime to the police if they witnessed it.
More worryingly, 95% of those asked did not know what mate crime was. Additionally, 9% said they had witnessed someone with learning disabilities being bullied.
100 Voices on Personal Safety was written for and by people supported by Brandon Trust directly, as a result of discussions at the charity’s 2013 100 Voices conference. It considers real experiences of mistreatment involving those with learning disabilities, lessons to be learnt and how this group can deal with such crimes in future. It also looks at why personal safety is so important with ideas on how things can be improved in the UK through schemes such as Safe Places and the Bristol Hate Crime Services.
Brandon Trust’s chief executive, Lucy Hurst-Brown, said: “The survey results, our conference and subsequent report show incidents against people with learning disabilities and autism, particularly hate and mate crime, surface all too frequently and most often stem from a real lack of understanding and knowledge across society.
“There is clear evidence of the devastating effect these crimes can have on the person and the way they live in their local community. Too often people with learning disabilities and autism are seen as easy targets; exploited, used and, as a result, often live in fear.
“We believe many incidents go unreported or are ignored, and more education is needed on impact and prevention. As a charity that supports people with learning disabilities, Brandon Trust feel it is important to raise awareness of these issues and try to bring about change for the better.”