Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) are “overburdened” and struggling to fight the battle against hate crime because of a lack of funding, according to a prominent disabled activist.
Ruth Bashall, a leading campaigner on disability hate crime, said disabled people and DPOs were “working their socks off” to tackle the problem.
But she said many DPOs were “fighting for survival” and did not have the resources to provide the advocacy and support needed by disabled hate crime survivors.
She said advisory groups run by criminal justice agencies needed to start paying DPOs to provide expert advice on disability hate crime.
Bashall, speaking at a disability hate crime conference organised by The House Magazine, said DPOs could not compete with the resources available to those national disability organisations that were not run by disabled people.
She said the criminal justice system needed to “find a way to engage with disabled people and involve disabled people in formulating policy”.
Fellow disabled activist Anne Novis told the conference that the police and the rest of the criminal justice system still failed too often to believe disabled people who reported disability hate crime.
She said: “We want to see justice so that we can be confident that when we report [hate crime]we will get an appropriate response at every level, but that is not happening at this moment.
“We are only beginning to be believed. Most of the police and criminal justice system do not believe us.”
Stephen Brookes, another disabled activist, told the conference that he had been at an event in Wrexham at which 72 of the 90 disabled people present said they had been victims of hostility or hate crime. Only four of them said they had reported the crime.
14 October 2010