Hate Crime and Harassment - Evidence
Disability hate crime, which can occur in many forms, constitutes a violation of a disabled person's human rights and dignity. Harassment and insults, abusive gestures or offensive letters, bullying at school or in a workplace, theft, damage to property or physical attacks could all be disability hate crimes if the offender demonstrates hostility towards a disabled person immediately before, during or after the crime is committed.
Any criminal offence, which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's disability or perceived disability.
Trailblazers in Scotland received disturbing reports from members of our network. These young people had been humiliated, harassed and bullied by older, non-disabled people. In all of these cases, the offenders were people in authority, and they had harassed the Trailblazers, simply because they were young and independent disabled people.
Many Trailblazers report:
- being harassed and bullied by complete strangers and, in some cases, being physically abused and intimidated
- that the bullying and mimicking of disabled people had become the norm and there was nothing that could be done about it
- that they had developed coping mechanisms and would go out of their way to avoid persistent bullies
- that they had little or no faith - or experience - that school teachers, employers or others in authority would address the issues if they reported them.
Karis Williamson from Inverness said:
I have been excluded from school trips and when I objected to this everyone stopped speaking to me and I had to leave school. I should be going into my second year but I haven't been to school since P7 although I am enrolled there. We got hate mail and internet abuse and now I have no friends and nobody will speak to me and all because I am disabled. Those supposed to support me are just as bad and wouldn't stand up to protect me or my rights, including my social worker. A complaint has gone into the Scottish Parliament but we still haven't heard anything and I feel like someone in prison just because of the way I was born.