A Life without Fear? A Call for Collective Action against Learning Disability Hate Crime

To read 'A Life without Fear?' report click here

To read an easier to read summary click here

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Learning disability hate crime destroys the lives of people with learning disabilities.

Enough is enough.

It is time people with learning disabilities are valued as equal to everyone else.

It is time we say no to learning disabilities hate crime.

Patricia Charlesworth, Chair of the Reference Group

To listen to Pat's story please click

Learning Disability Hate Crime

As the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, we undertook an investigation into learning disability hate crime and the current schemes addressing it across the UK. We aimed to:

  • understand how current schemes operate.
  • gather evidence of good practice, showcased throughout the report.
  • develop recommendations to influence change in policy on learning disability hate crime.

Learning disability hate crime is any criminal offence which is seen, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.

Mark Brookes, a campaigns adviser for Dimensions, explains in the video below what hate and mate crime is, and how it can affect a person with a learning disability.

To listen to Mark Brookes' personal story please click here.

A Growing Problem

The 'I'm with Sam' campaign report found (Dimensions, 2016):

  • 73% of respondents had been a victim of learning disability hate crime and/or harassment.
  • 53% of those victims have experienced such acts within in the last year.

To listen to an example of a learning disability hate crime, click here

To hear more about the 'I'm with Sam' campaign click here

An Underreported Issue

Learning disability hate crime can cause devastating impacts on the wellbeing of individuals with learning disabilities.

To listen to examples of learning disability hate crime click here

It remains largely invisible, with many people with learning disabilities seeing it as an inevitable part of everyday life.

"Just happens...it happens to everyone, doesn't it?"
Focus group member

Learning disability hate crime is often underreported and commonly mismanaged. We need to support people with learning disabilities to report acts of hate crime.

Addressing Learning Disability Hate Crime

In April 2016, we launched a survey to identify schemes across the UK addressing learning disability hate crime.

Please click here to view the interactive map of the schemes.

The survey found the main types of schemes included:

Campaigns raising awareness of learning disability hate crime (59%)

Schemes providing support to people with learning disabilities in a community setting (48%)

Schemes offering advocacy to learning disability hate crime victims and providing an opportunity to report such incidents (40%).

For example, KeyRing's community living volunteering programme.

To hear more about KeyRing click here

To hear more about the role of police community officers click here

Additionally, 80% of the schemes also detailed forms of training provision – both internally and externally – to raise awareness of learning disability hate crime.

For example, The Gate Group, run by Yarrow Housing, developed a training module on learning disability hate crime for the Hendon Police Training Centre programme.

To hear more about The Gate Group's training click here or to visit Yarrow Housing's website click here

“I am an individual like you, no different, no more, no less.We are part of society, we always have been and always will be.”

To listen to Michelle's story click here


The 2016 Home Office ‘Action Against Hate’ report outlined five key areas to address hate crime.

Our report has developed recommendations, based on evidence of good practice showcased throughout, under the five key areas to addressing hate crime: preventing hate crimes, responding to hate crimes, reporting hate crimes, supporting victims, collecting hate crime data.

Preventing Hate Crime

We want local authorities to develop and improve inclusive mainstream services and publicise local good practice examples of citizen action projects such as The Friendship Group, developed by the Involvement Matters Team in East Sussex.

To hear more about the Friendship Group please click here.

We want the CPS to evaluate their current schools pack and seek the support of the Department for Education in promoting the materials to schools.

Click here to read their current schools pack.

We want the Department for Education to encourage schools to include learning disability hate crime training and use Books Beyond Words to support individuals with learning disabilities.

We want local authority commissioners and the CQC to check that housing providers are aware of and implement standardised learning disability hate crime training.

“People with learning disabilities have the right to have a voice. Stop and listen to us.”

To listen to David's story click here

Responding to Hate Crime

We want the National Police Chief Council to prioritise and mandate accredited learning disability hate crime training to all staff within the justice system.

For example, Dimensions have developed training on learning disability hate crime and how best to support victims. The training is 'expert by experience' led and is currently used to train Surrey Police.

To hear more about the police training click here

We want local authorities to prioritise the implementation of learning disability hate crime action plans, using a holistic and collective approach.

For example, Lancashire Police and supportive organisations, have prioritised raising awareness of disability hate crime and encouraging victims and witnesses to report it. It has been a consistent and coordinated approach, particularly over the last seven years, relying on a footprint of partner organisations to work in collaboration. Their efforts are evident through the increased disability hate crime statistics.

“It makes me very angry that the lives of people with learning disabilities are so bad…Everyone is a valid person on this Earth.”

Reporting of Hate Crime

We want the Government to fund research to review current reporting pathways and strengthen evidence for good practice examples such as Stop Hate UK.

We want the Home Office to implement standardised protocols, unify reporting pathways and evaluation methods for Third Party Reporting Centres and provide a forum for services to share learnings.

We want the Government to standardise police reporting systems, to ensure learning disability hate crimes are correctly recorded and reasonable adjustments are made to support the victims.

For example Surrey Police have introduced the Pegasus system and developed the Single Combined Assessment of Risk Form (SCARF) to improve the reports of learning disability hate crimes.

To hear from Surrey Police's hate crime lead click here

To hear more about Pegasus click here

To hear more about the role of Police Liaison Officers click here

To here more about SCARF click here

We want the Police Chief Officer and the CPS to carry out regular audits to ensure incidents are correctly being flagged across police services.

“Don’t patronise me or treat me like I’m stupid. Meet me halfway and give me what I need. Support me.”

To listen to Richard's story click here

Supporting Victims of Hate Crime

We want the Home Office to further research safe place schemes, and evaluate how to improve service provision. For example, Keep Safe Cymru provides an alternative service to standard safe place schemes.

To hear more about Keep Safe Cymru, click here.

Subject to evaluation, the Home Office can then support and fund the Safe Place Organisation to nationally coordinate the schemes across the UK.


e want each local authority to consult with local 'experts by experience' to ensure services are adequately supporting victims of learning disability hate crime.

For example, MacIntyre, in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Police, deliver the Keeping People Safe programme. The Champions of the programme also play an active and integral part in the Safe Place scheme across Derbyshire. With support, the Champions provide checks on nominated Safe Places within the community, establishing whether the schemes are operating effectively.

To find out more about MacIntyre and their Keeping People Safe programme, click here.

We want the Police and Crime Commissioners to work with local authorities to review current victim support services.

“There is more to me than just my learning disability”

Collecting Hate Crime Data

We want the Government to request disaggregated statistics for hate crime against people with learning disabilities because they are more susceptible to hate crime and less likely to report it. This should be actioned by the ONS in the Crime Survey and by police in the routine recording.

We will...

• continue to work closely with our newly developed, National Forum for Learning Disabilities and Autism Hate Crime (NFLD&AHC), as well as our experts by experience stakeholders, to develop our understanding of the issues faced by people with disabilities.

• contribute to the refresh of the Home Office Action Plan on Hate Crime, which will be launched later in 2018.

• publish comprehensive spatial analysis research on disability hate crime in England and Wales.

• publish a review on the effectiveness of interventions to prevent hate crime in the UK.

develop further work with other minorities affected by hate crime.

“We all have something to give… if only they are given the chance and the support to reach their full potential.”

To hear Ellen's story click here

Our report has focused on highlighting evidence of good practice while providing a voice for the victims of learning disability hate crime.

It is unacceptable, that after years of reflection and implementation of strategies targeting learning disability hate crime, we are still witnessing such cruelty.

By speaking to victims of learning disability hate crime via our focus groups and reference group, it is evident how such crimes are easily missed.

We hope our recommendations will be addressed in the Government’s Hate Crime action plan refresh, published later in 2018.

We would like to thank all the those who gave their time to be filmed, particularly the members of our 'experts by experience' reference group:

Patricia Charlesworth, Richard Lawrence, Warren Day, Richard West, Michelle McDermott, David Jeffrey, Richard Walker, Katy Bessent, Dominic Steel, Jeanette Gallivan-Young, Tim Sully, Graham Oliver and Sonia Reed, Christine Burke and Ruth Simmonds.

Many thanks to Tim Butcher and Camille Bou for filming and editing the videos and photographs.