Disability hate crime

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) recognise Disability Hate Crime as ‘any incident perceived to be on the grounds of the person’s physical or mental disability by the victim or any other person’.

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Disability hate crime advocate

Shane Gorman, Disability Hate Crime AdvocateThe position of disability hate crime advocate was established in Leonard Cheshire Disability from 1 July 2013, and is the first role of its kind within Northern Ireland. The advocacy role has numerous aims which include:

  • Supporting disabled people and their carers with reporting hate crime either through direct reporting or facilitating third party reporting.
  • To improve access to policing and other relevant services for disabled people.
  • To raise awareness of disability hate crime within the PSNI, other agencies, and within the disabled community.
  • Establishing working relationships with PSNI personnel and liaising with statutory, community and voluntary agencies.
  • Increase reporting of disability hate crime.

The service provided by the advocate revolves around a person centred approach to victims, which is very important as many victims of disability hate crime have had poor experiences in the past when reporting crime. Through listening, providing information and signposting the victim to appropriate support agencies the advocate aims to increase the victim’s confidence. With this support structure in place it is hoped a satisfactory outcome can be reached for the victim, and they will feel more aware and confident to report any possible future crimes. Reports of disability hate crime recorded by the PSNI are steadily increasing since the Disability Hate Crime Advocate post was established. Through increased work with victims, working in a person centred way, a multi-agency approach to support, awareness raising within the disabled community, and awareness raising within the PSNI and other agencies it is hoped that these increased number of reports continue. Currently such crimes continue to be recognised as under-reported in society. Disability hate crime is unacceptable — to stop it, report it!

Our Stories Please take a few minutes to read here Mr X’s  story who is a disability hate crime victim and the work carried out by our Advocacy services to support him.