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Thursday, 18 November 2010

South Wales spotlight disability hate crime (UK)

Today, South Wales Police and Disability Wales are asking their Welsh partners to join forces to combat Disability Hate Crime.

At a conference called ‘Disability Hate Crime Matters’ at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, guest speakers will include Simon Green who has experienced hate crime and is a member of the Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People; the Chief Constable of South Wales Police, Peter Vaughan; the Chief Executive of Disability Wales, Rhian Davies; the National Director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Cymru, Kate Bennett; and more.

With Wales having the largest population of disabled people in the UK with 1 in 5 people, Disability Hate Crime is a very real issue for Wales.

More than 24% of Wales’ adult population live with a long-term illness or impairment. In the UK, more than a third of disabled adults live in poverty and 70% of families with disabled children have low income.

Disability Hate Crime is believed to be massively under-reported and approximately 165 delegates will be at the conference today to find ways to encourage reporting and improve the quality of life for disabled people.

Chief Constable Peter Vaughan of South Wales Police said,

“Recognising the many challenges, we in the police service, and our partners, face in relation to Hate Crime, South Wales Police has been working closely with Disability Wales for the last 18 months or so.

“Across Wales last year, there were over 200 recorded disability hate incidents. For every one of these incidents, there will be a victim and in many cases they will be a vulnerable victim.

“Sadly, we are finding an increasing number of incidents which appear to be Anti-Social Behaviour, but are actually motivated by hostility towards the victim because of their impairment.

“The police and its partners must consider the whole spectrum of harm in relation to each of these victims and take appropriate action.”

Chief Executive Rhian Davies of Disability Wales said, “The recent high-profile cases have lifted the lid on the day-in, day-out abuse, bullying, victimisation and harassment faced by thousands of disabled people as they go about their daily lives in the community. It acts as much as a barrier to disabled people enjoying their right as equal citizens as does the lack of access, and must be tackled by us or as a matter of urgency.”

News Wales