The following Thames Valley Police Alert has been received:
Case studies of disability hate crime incidents -Berkshire
This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert. This information has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police
Message sent by
Naveenat Sahota (Police, Local Comms, Thames Valley)
In February 2013, a witness reported harassment and bullying towards a vulnerable woman with learning difficulties in Newbury.
A man and a woman were being verbally abusive to the victim, making derogatory comments towards her and putting chewing gum in her hair. The witness who called police had tried to help her remove it, which resulted in her hair being cut.
The man was arrested and cautioned with common assault. He apologised to the victim and offered to pay for a proper haircut. The woman who was being abusive to the victim was given a harassment warning.
In this instance, the victim was unable to report this on her own and needed the support of the witness to report this incident to the police.
It is important to remember that If you witness someone being subjected to this kind of behaviour challenge it, report it and together we can tackle hate crime in all its forms.
We need to support those with physical, mental or learning disabilities by contacting police it if you witness them being targeted. If witnesses of disability hate crime don’t report the offence, victims will continue to suffer in silence. So if you know someone that is being targeted because they have a disability then please tell us by calling 101.
Last year, in August at a Job Centre in Reading, a man attended the centre to submit a claim for benefits but he didn’t have the correct paperwork with him and this was pointed out by the member of staff assisting him that was in a wheelchair. The man became aggressive and used verbally offensive language towards the staff member, which the victim felt was in reference to his disability.
The staff member didn’t want to take any further action but requested that officers speak to the man about his behaviour. Officers from Reading response team informed the offender that offensive language of this nature will not be tolerated and issued the offender with an Adult Restorative Disposal to ensure the incident was logged and there were no reoccurring patterns of offending.
The offender later attended the Job Centre and apologised to the staff member. This apology was accepted by the victim and he was very happy with the actions and positive outcome, from this incident.
Everyone has the right to a life free from harassment, bullying, fear and intimidation, so if you think you are being targeted because of your disability then please tell someone and report it via 101.
There is more information about disability hate crime, how to spot the signs someone may be a victim, how to report disability hate crime and how to obtain support for victims and witnesses on our website: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/aboutus/aboutus-ead/aboutus-ead-hate-crime/aboutus-ead-disability-hate-crime.htm