Hate Crime Awareness Week
It’s Hate Crime Awareness Week - a week I am proud to support. Having previously spoken with victims of hate crime, I know the detrimental impact it can have and that’s why tackling hate crime is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan.
I believe that we must listen to and learn from, those with a ‘lived experience’ of hate crime, so for my newsletter this week, I would like to take a step back and hand the platform over to Chandos Green, a Bournemouth resident and disability campaigner who has previously been the victim of hate crime, here in Dorset.
I’m Chandos, a mental health and disability campaigner living in Bournemouth. I have a physical disability and a diagnosis of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
As a disabled person living in Dorset, hate crime and its impact on daily living have been a massive part of my life over the past year. Making it hard for me to go out in public, out of fear people are going to make comments about my walk. My sleep has also been affected, which has in turn impacted my ability to work full-time. The attitudes towards disability have seen a negative increase for many who identify as having a disability.
‘In England and Wales, there were 14,242 police recorded disability hate crime incidents in the 2021/22 reporting year, compared with 9,943 in the previous year.’ Seeing this number rise so much so quickly is of concern to me as it highlights what thousands of other disabled people are living with day to day. However, this increase could also highlight the possibility that more people feel confident in reporting disability-related hate crime.
I have to admit in the past few months, I have not reported every occasion I have been discriminated against, because of the stress and anxiety attached to the process. It is so important to take care of yourself in situations like these and to seek help for your mental health when you need it. I found support in the Hub of Hope, a database of local services which allowed me to find the right support for me. Having the right support can make the process of reporting hate crime a little bit easier. It is so important that the reporting of hate crime is accessible and happens after each incident because it can help steer policy and the work undertaken to prevent it from happening in future.
When I did tell someone at 101 about my experiences this year, I was shown overwhelming support to find some justice in identifying who had laughed at me and made comments about my disability in public. After being supported by a local Sargent and a PCSO, I was asked to write a letter to those involved in the incident, about me and what the impact of these comments had on my life, to educate the offenders and make them aware of the consequences of their actions. I then received letters back from those involved apologising. I think this approach worked as it educated those involved on disability rights and the importance of inclusion in society.
Although I had a positive outcome to me reporting what happened, many don’t tell anyone about the discrimination they face because of fear of what might happen or what people will do. I know I have felt that way at times. The statistics on hate crime towards disabled people does not account for these unreported incidents. I am extremely grateful for the help I received to manage the impact of the hate crime I experienced earlier this year and am very fortunate to have received the support I got when I reported what happened.
I hope that by sharing a little bit of my story I can encourage others to be confident in reporting when they are the victim of hate crime and encourage the public to support their friends and family through the process.
Stats from: Disability hate crimes England and Wales 2022 | Statista