Disability hate crime charges fall despite rise in reports, charity finds

Less people are being charged or prosecuted for disability hate crimes across England and Wales, despite continued rise in reports.

The figures, which also show an increase in repeat offenders, come from police data obtained by the charity United Response.

The total number of disability hate crimes reported to the police has risen by 54% since 2016-17, during which time charges or prosecutions of these crimes have fallen by 21%.

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The police numbers show that prosecution or charge rates for disability hate crimes are now so low, that fewer than 4% of all 10,535 crimes reported across 27 regions over the past three years resulted in a successful punishment outcome.

In 2016-17, 5% of disability hate crimes resulted in a prosecution or charge, dropping to less than 3% of 2018-19’s offences.

Meanwhile, the number of disability hate crimes committed by repeat disability hate crime offenders across England and Wales soared by 179% in 21 regions over the past three years.

United Response’s director of quality & practice, Sarah Battershall, said: “It is critical that these criminals are brought to justice in the right way but also educated on the hugely damaging impact their mindless and cowardly acts have on vulnerable people. It’s clear that not enough is being done to prevent these crimes, in some cases leading to far too many freely committing the same offence again.”

Concluding: “We’re committed to tackling this once and for all and are building on the success of our partnerships and campaign from last year to keep awareness of this worsening issue alive. Our easy-read resource continues to empower more victims to speak out, but we’re also working with HM Courts & Tribunals Service and the CPS on an interactive video to help make courtrooms more accessible – and less daunting – for people with learning disabilities.”

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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