Advertising

Just four out of 238 attacks on disabled go to court

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

More than 230 attacks on disabled people were reported to police in the West Midlands over the last two years - but only four ended up before the courts.

Hate crimes included attacks made online

Figures showed a total of 238 reports categorised as disability hate crimes were reported to West Midlands Police.

Most of these included an element of violence, be it verbally or physically, although specific details of physical attacks were not provided by the force.

The vast majority of the cases reported in the two years to March went nowhere with four resulting in a charge or summons and 225 having "other outcomes" including no action being taken at all. Many cases were dropped due to lack of evidence or no suspect identified.

A total of 28 of the hate crimes were conducted online.

Disabled hate crime increased during 2018/19 when there were 134 cases compared to 104 during the previous 12 months.

Health and welfare charity Leonard Cheshire, which released the figures following a Freedom of Information request, said the low prosecution rate was "unacceptable".

The trend in the West Midlands was reflected across the country

Overall recorded disability hate crime is up by 22 per cent, from 4,111 crimes in 2017/18 to 5,015 in 2018/19. More than half of these cases in 2018/19 involved violence and almost 92 per cent of forces reported increasing levels of violence against disabled people.

Advertising

Just seven per cent of cases received a caution or community resolution in 2018/19, while six per cent could be confirmed as either sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for charging or as having received a charge or summons.

Leonard Cheshire CEO Neil Heslop said: “Hate crime against disabled people is significantly up with worrying increases in violent offences. Low prosecution levels are unacceptable and disabled people will feel a sense of injustice. Government and police forces must overcome barriers to successful case outcomes for survivors and perpetrators must be brought to account. Hate crime is devastating and more advocacy services like the one Leonard Cheshire runs in Belfast are needed to support survivors.”

The charity's hate crime advocate Terence McCorry said: “Disability hate crime is targeting the most isolated and vulnerable people, many of whom do not know where to turn for support. Persistent crimes and incidents aimed at disabled people will leave them feeling unsafe in their homes and community, living in a constant state of alert.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News