Disability Hate Crime
What is disability?
You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. Many disabilities are unseen and are not purely related to visible physical impairment.
What ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ mean
◦ ‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial – e.g. it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed
◦ ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more – e.g. a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection
There are special rules about recurring or fluctuating conditions, for example, arthritis.
A progressive condition is a condition that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be classed as disabled.
However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis.
What isn’t counted as a disability
Some conditions aren’t covered by the disability definition. These include addiction to non–prescribed drugs or alcohol.
For more information regarding these definitions please see the Equality Act 2010 guidance.
There are estimates which have been updated by the Office for Disability Issues 2010/2011 from the Department of Work and Pensions which shows the are 11.2 million in Great Britain, 5.2 million are of working age, 5.2 million are over state pension age and 0.8 million are children.
What is Disability Hate Crime?
Disability hate crime is hate crime arising from the hostility of the perpetrator towards the disability, or perceived disability, of the victim, or because of their perceived connection to disability. It represents disablism carried through into criminal acts against the person.
Disability hate crime can take many forms, from verbal abuse and intimidatory to vandalism, assault or even murder. Disability hate crimes may be one-off incidents, or systematic abuse that may continue over periods of weeks, months or even years. Disability hate crime may occur between strangers who have never met, between acquaintances or within the family.
Serious cases of abuse of disabled people such a Fiona Pilkington and her daughter, Francecca, who died in 2007 after suffering years of harassment – have been widely reported in the media over the last few years. Unfortunately too few cases are reported, too often disability hate crime is an every day occurrence of disabled people. Many come to accept these crimes as inevitable. Disabled people do not report hate crime for fear of the consequences of reporting such an act, and many times it is unclear to who they should report such crimes and the action actually taken by various bodies. A culture of disbelief exits within the general public that these crimes occur so frequently. Unfortunately the impact of harassment and crimes on disabled people often leaves the disabled people with depression and anxiety, which compounds existing health conditions/disabilites. Organizations failure to offer legitimate reporting and actions to be carried out often lead to fear of repercussions within the disabled community. As you are aware is it now illegal to discriminate against a person with a disability or a perceived disability or association with a disabled person.
Disabled people are less likely to work and are discriminated against more than women on the equal pay front. There need to be a huge society change in the views of the general public in regard to disability to enable the disabled community to become normalized and not excluded by society as weird when the only difference is difference. Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability (HAFAD) have now established themselves as a reporting centre for disability related hate crime and here are the details below of the project and how it works and who to report Disability Hate Crime too.