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If you’ve been a victim of discrimination or hate crime because of a physical disability, a learning disability or a mental health problem, we can help.

What are hate incidents?

Disability hate incidents are when someone has been hostile or violent to you because you’re disabled. This can be because of:

  • Physical disabilities, like wheelchair users;
  • Learning disabilities, like Down’s syndrome;
  • Learning difficulties, like ADHD;
  • Mental health problems; and
  • Long-term health conditions, like HIV.

Disability hate incidents can include things like:

  • verbal abuse
  • written abuse (including text messages)
  • online abuse
  • physical abuse
  • bullying
  • threatening you
  • damage to your property or possessions

Disability hate incidents can happen anywhere, and they can be carried out by anyone. It might have been a total strangers, or someone you know very well, like your family. It may have happened only once, or many times over a longer period.

What about hate crimes?

A disability hate incident becomes a disability hate crime when a crime has been committed. Any crime can be a disability hate crime if the person targeted you because of your disability. Disability hate crimes can result in harsher sentences for the offender.

The most effective way of stopping disability hate crime is by reporting it, each and every time it happens. If you live in Avon and Somerset, you can report it to us, and we’ll be able open a case to support you. If you live outside, there are lots of organisations that might be able to help you. You can also report disability hate crime to the police throughout the UK.

You can report a disability hate incident or hate crime even it it wasn’t aimed at you. You could be a family member, friend, neighbour, support-worker, colleague or just passing by.

You can be the victim of disability hate even if you’re not actually disabled – if someone does something because they think you’re disabled, that counts too. You can also be the victim of disability hate because you are friends or family with someone who is disabled – for example, if someone targets you because you have a disabled sibling.

A Down's Syndrome boy with megaphone protesting against disability hate crime.

What is ‘Mate crime’?

Mate crime is when someone says they’re your friend, but they take advantage of you, like ask you for money all the time. Mate crime is classed as a hate crime.

A real friend doesn’t need to be bought, and someone who takes your money, asks you to pay for lots of things, or makes you feel uncomfortable is not really your friend.

If someone who says they are your friend hurts you, steals from you or makes you do something you don’t want to do, you should tell someone you trust straight away.

Report a hate crime or incident

No one deserves to be a victim of hate. If it’s happening to you or someone you know, get in touch with us right away. If you live in Avon and Somerset, our service is free and completely confidential. And if we can’t help you, we’ll do our best to find someone who can.

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