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Hate Crime Awareness Week 2014

October 12, 2014

Readers, I’ve just found out that yesterday was the start of  National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2014.

Political leaders have issued statements to support the Week, which are linked above, but few of them have mentioned disability hate crime. And when disability hate crime is mentioned, it is just in passing.

Readers, this Hate Crime Awareness Week, Same Difference officially calls for the Week to receive deserved publicity and recognition.

Because of course, readers, no hate crime is acceptable, for any reason, ever.

Readers, this Hate Crime Awareness Week, Same Difference also calls for the mainstream to recognise disability hate crime and give it equal importance to homophobic hate crime, race hate crime and gender-based hate crime.

What can the mainstream do to recognise disability hate crime equally?

Well, first of all, we need to improve and increase disability awareness in the general public. The biggest problem disabled people face is that the general non-disabled public see disability as a significant and negative difference. Disability is, of course, a significant difference- because unlike race, sexuality or gender, disability makes it extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, for people to do things that non-disabled people take for granted.

But, disability does not have to be a negative thing. With the right support, there are many things that disabled people can do. We need to improve and increase awareness of this fact within the general public. We need to improve and increase awareness of the fact that disabled people are intelligent. We need to improve and increase awareness of the fact that disabled people have feelings and that hate crimes hurt our feelings.

The second thing that we need to do to recognise disability hate crime equally and give it equal importance to other hate crimes is to raise disability awareness within the police. The police need to be fully trained in how to interact with and react to people with all disabilities. We need to make it easier for disabled people to feel comfortable reporting disability hate crimes to the police.

Work needs to be put in to explaining to people with all disabilities that disability hate crimes need to be reported to the police. Work needs to be put in to explaining to people with all disabilities at levels, and in ways, that they can understand, how to report disability hate crimes to the police. Whether this means Braille, large print, Sign Language or Easy Read.

The media are not helping, either, with their negative coverage of disabled people as ‘benefit cheats’ and ‘scroungers.’ They need to realise that negative coverage of a group of people already viewed negatively by the general public will only add to disability hate crime rates.

Readers, there is a long way to go and of course, what needs to be done will not come cheap. You may even say it will be much more expensive to work on raising awareness of disability hate crime than it would be to raise awareness of hate crime against any other group. You may even say that is why there is still so little awareness of disability hate crime.

And readers you would not be wrong. But what needs to be done needs to be done, because no hate crime is acceptable, ever, and it is about time disability hate crime was firmly on the list- not just as a word in a sentence but as a topic being considered by everyone with the power to consider it.

 

 

 

 

 

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