Disability hate crime is a huge issue for people we support across the country. The government is introducing new measures to help tackle the issue, and MPs have also backed a petition signed by over 220,000 people calling on more protection online for disabled people. United Response is campaigning in a number of ways to support the government’s efforts.

  • Police figures for 2020/21 obtained by the charities United Response and Leonard Cheshire show that disability hate crimes across England and Wales remain high, with 9,252 crimes committed last year – an average of around 25 crimes each day
  • Nearly half (44%) of these reports were classed by the police as ‘violent’ and included crimes such as assault and possession of weapons
  • Online disability hate crime soared during 2020/21 despite much of the population experiencing lockdowns and restrictive measures – an increase of 52% in cybercrime compared to 2019/20

Read more:

What is disability hate crime?

Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability, or perceived disability.

Zack’s Story is a short stop-motion animation that United Response created with the help of people we support. In this second chapter of Zack’s story, Zack’s best friend experiences a disability hate crime and Zack has a narrow escape from getting tangled up with a County Lines gang.

Transcript: Zack’s Story – Chapter 2 – Disability hate crime

What are the signs of a hate crime?

Signs which are classed as hate crime are very similar to ‘bullying’. These could be:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewellery
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Children may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviours such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide

Find out more: information and guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service – Support for Disabled Victims and Witnesses of Crime.

Disability hate crime training resource

We have created a free training resource and training pack, along with West Yorkshire Police, that aims to provide guidance to support workers, family members and friends of people with disabilities and autism. You will learn how to have conversations with people, explaining what a hate crime is in easy-to-understand language, and be given the tools to know how to report it to the authorities.

Transcript: Hate crime discussion group