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Reports of disability hate crime in Scotland on the up

Reports of disability hate crime in Scotland on the up

Added: 20 June 2013, 15:32

New figures show that the number of disability hate crimes reported to Scottish police in 2012-2013 has more than doubled on the previous year.  There were 138 charges reported in 2012-13 compared with 60 charges in 2011-12, according to a report published by the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service. 

Disability hate crimes are crimes which have been motivated by malice or ill-will towards a person because of a real, or perceived, disability.  The law making disability a type of hate crime came into force in March 2010.  Since then the number of these charges have risen each year, however it is agreed that this type of crime is under reported compared to other forms of hate crime.  Disability hate crimes made up 2.4% of all hate crimes reported in Scotland in 2012-13. 

You can read the full report ‘Hate Crime in Scotland 2012-13” here.

The rise in reported charges is thought to be due to increased awareness by victims of disability hate crime that these offences should not be tolerated, and the effect of police initiatives such as Third Party Reporting Centres.  Third Party Reporting Centres help victims or witnesses of hate crime to make a report to the police.  They can also make the report on the victim/witnesses behalf. Examples of Third Party Reporting Centres range from Housing Associations to Victim Support offices and Voluntary Groups.

Epilepsy Scotland has been working closely with Police Scotland to encourage victims of disability hate crime to speak up and report their experiences.  PC Gillian Forrester, an officer in the Diversity Unit, recently attended our AGM to talk to members and service users about what kind of behaviour represents disability hate crime and how to report it.

If you believe you have been the victim of a crime motivated by prejudice about disability, you can report it in the following ways:

•    Telephone 999 (emergency) or 101 (non-emergency)
•    In person at any Police office
•    On-Line Hate Crime Reporting Form
•    Visit a 3rd Party Reporting Centre

If you wish to pass on information about those committing hate crimes anonymously, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or fill out their anonymous online Giving Information Form