The Bigger Picture: Three years of targeted hostility towards disabled people in the UK
August 2007- July 2010
This is the second report produced by Anne Novis on disability hate crime which we have been given by her to distribute as widely as possible.
Whatever language is used, currently there is a poor response from both police and public services in adequately dealing with hate crimes that are targeted against disabled people. There has been a similar inadequate response in handling other disabled people’s reports of disability hate crimes and incidents. This motivates work in campaigning on this issue and working on reports like the ‘Snap Shot Report of targeted hostility towards disabled people in theUK’ and ‘Getting Away with Murder: disabled people’s experience of hate crime in theUK’. These reports try to raise awareness of what is happening in this area.
This report has been produced as evidence for the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into the extent of targeted hostility towards disabled people. It is the second of two reports. The first report focused on a period of three months in 2010, whilst this larger report details all evidence we have found over a period of three years, from August 2007 to July 2010.
There has been an increased interest in disability hate crime and targeted hostility towards disabled people. We have therefore broadened the focus of this report to include recommended actions
that we think are appropriate and worth exploring by all parties involved in these issues.
It is our hope that these reports will significantly add to and widen the debate on the range and types of hostility disabled people are experiencing.
We perceive disability hate crime, targeted hostility or any other terms used to describe degrading, inhuman or hostile treatment as violations of our human rights. This work is influenced by the Social Model of Disability, identifying the barriers that cause inequality, discrimination and violation of our human rights.
It is this approach we ask to be considered in all work on this issue of targeted hostility. An approach that recognises disabled people do not have equality in law to protect and give us equal justice. We believe that legal protection must be one of the first steps in addressing targeted hostility towards disabled people.
Equal Access to the Law
It is the basis of the Human Rights Act (2008) that disabled people have the same and equal access to law as all other people. The continuing exclusion of ‘disability’ from hate crime law gives a message that disabled people’s experience is ‘less than’ that of other people attacked due to their identity. The focus on anti-social behaviour is a distraction from what is truly occurring and the impact of such crimes.
We refute the belief that disabled people are targeted due to their innate ‘vulnerability’. This is a myth, a stereotype, which has no basis in evidenced fact. Any person is ‘vulnerable’ if someone wants to attack you, regardless of impairment.
The evidence of actual events has been fully verified and substantiated through media and judicial reports. There is also a massive body of anecdotal evidence over the past three decades, gathered directly from our members and their organisations.
Disability Awareness in Action has also collated evidence about violations of disabled peoples’ human rights across the world. Its database had this to say about theUKin 2006;
‘In theUKwe have information on 999 cases of violations affecting 366.458 disabled people. 59% are violations against women only and 18.5% are against children.
The real horror story is that 40.9% of these violations in theUKare of degrading and inhuman treatment (Article 5) and 9.8% (682 people) violate the right to life itself (Article 3).
A further 26.3% have their standard of living violated (Article 25), 11% have their freedom of movement violated (Article 13) – this includes transport violations. 9% have their right to employment violated. And 4.8% have their right to education violated (Article 26). There are also violations under most of the other articles.’
More details from this database can be viewed in Appendix 4 of this report.
Implementation of Justice
Article 16;5 of The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states;
‘Parties shall put in place effective legislation and policies, including women- and child-focused legislation and policies, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against persons with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.’
The lack of training for police officers around disability hate crime and targeted hostility, and the range of crimes disabled people experience, is another injustice that perpetuates a belief that we are few and that such crimes are rare.
Article 13(2) UN CRPD also states:
2. In order to help to ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities, States Parties shall promote appropriate training for those working in the field of administration of justice, including police and prison staff.
Government spending restrictions and cut backs are seeing organisations run by disabled people (DPOS) losing funding – just at a time when disabled people have started to be believed about hate crime. We believe that the work required to address and support disability hate crime must be centred in our own DPOs. This can also be supported by our allies and partners who work with disabled people in support of rights, equality and justice.
When a disabled person reports crime they do not want to face one barrier after another, be it physical access, attitudes or policies that discriminate. They do not want to face having to explain the nature of their impairments and its impact on them or have to complain about lack of access. They want to report the crime, be believed, and have an appropriate response and investigation as well as justice that is equal for all.
Therefore any services such as advice and advocacy, reporting sites in police stations, online or Third Party Reporting sites, must all comply with the Equality Act 2010, and be truly accessible for all disabled people.
Public service providers have a duty to eliminate harassment against disabled people yet the reality is they are, most often, the ones who cause the barriers we face, do not believe disabled people when they share their experiences, or refuse a service in one way or another.
On access to justice, Article 13(1) of the UN Convention on the Human Rights of disabled peoples states;
1. States Parties shall ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations, in order to facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants, including as witnesses, in all legal proceedings, including at investigative and other preliminary stages.
We await the full implementation of disabled people’s human rights to freedom from harassment and hostility as well as access to equal justice.
We ask do we not have enough evidence for an appropriate response from those meant to serve, protect and ensure justice, how much longer do we have to wait?
We have made every effort to make sure the figures used in this report are correct. We would like to highlight that the figures on gender and impairment are not the same as the incidents, due to some incidents involving equipment, rather than people. There are far more media articles on this issue in the last two years than has previously been the case. Please also note that all figures refer to the victims unless stated otherwise.
As all police forces are not monitoring disability hate crime and targeted hostility, this report relied on media sources for the collection of evidence. We need a consistent monitoring process in order to fully evidence and address the issue of disability hate crime.
This report details the broad headings about impairments due to the limited research undertaken so far around disability related crime and targeted hostility against disabled people.
We would like to see a pan-impairment approach to all work on disability hate crime that recognises the philosophy of the Social Model of Disability. Such an approach would therefore include all disabled people. This would enable the development of focused and comprehensive strategies and work at national and local levels.
This approach would include all disabled people rather than limiting work to impairment-specific groups only. This is of crucial importance if we are to ensure that many are not left to struggle on their own with no support or recognition.
Incidents not detailed
In this report we do not include all information on thefts of disability equipment like wheelchairs, mobility scooters, crutches, white sticks, hearing aids, blue badges etc. Whilst a few are detailed for information purposes, the reality is that there are dozens of such thefts occurring every month and are carried out to generate a profit. Whilst these thefts do cause great difficulty and distress to the disabled individual, they are not in the same category as disability hate crimes.
This report also does not detail the amount of so-called ‘muggings’ of disabled people where handbags, wallets and mobile phones etc. are stolen. These incidents are numerous, based on a profit motive and too great in number to be detailed here. However, repeated robberies, harassment and or physical attacks on the same individual have all been included in this report.
Freedom of Information requests
As part of the work for this report we sent off 26 FOI requests to various local authorities and police services asking what actions and plans they had to address the level of murders and attacks on disabled people in their region. The details of the questions we asked and the responses so far are gathered in Appendix …..
The murders detailed
A total of sixty nine murders are included in this report, all of which have taken place between August 2007 and July 2010. Information is provided in this report about; the year in which murders were committed and, where possible, details of appeals, ongoing investigations, and ongoing court cases. Please see Appendix 1 for a further detailed breakdown of these murders.
The term ‘murder’ is applied as a heading description and not that of all police or court charges. These charges used classifications such as manslaughter, mercy killings and culpable manslaughter. In some cases, individuals that were not charged with murder have been perceived as committing murder in this report.
70 murders were committed between August 2007 and July 2010.
61 men, 14 women, 8 boys, 2 girls and 10 unknown people were involved in committing these attacks and murders.
The details of each of these cases is not described fully in this report, as many are part of ongoing investigations and we do not wish to compromise judicial processes.
Nevertheless, the murder cases listed provide a detailed picture of deliberate targeted hostility, whether by relatives who believe they cannot cope any more, or think that their relative wants to die, to opportunistic killings or planned murders and executions.
Several cases listed are of such a nature that no explanation could suffice as to why people would persist in torturing and killing a disabled person, except that perpetrators believe the lives of disabled people are of less value than other human beings.
There is also a belief that killing a disabled person will be more ‘acceptable’ then killing a non-disabled person. This is evidenced by societies’ views on assisted suicide, attitudes around so-called ‘mercy killings’, the lower sentences sometimes given to those who kill disabled people, the lack of use of laws around sentencing which can be increased if the victim is being targeted due to disability or ‘vulnerability’.
The purpose of listing the victims of disability hate crimes and targeted hostility in this report is so that appropriate action may finally be taken and so that those victims are remembered.
More details about the 70 murder cases in media
January – July 2010
A total of 23 murders have taken place in this seven month period; seventeen cases are still ongoing, two murderers committed suicide and one has been sentenced. Additionally, there is also:
- 1 murderer in court due to escaping jail (1995 case).
- 1 case in court for murder in 1997 due to new evidence.
- 1 case in court for murder in 2006.
January – December 2009
A total of fifteen murders took place in 2009, five trials complete, and ten were sentenced in 2010.
January – December 2008
There were fourteen murders over this 2008, with four trials complete, four sentenced the following year, one appeal and three in court in 2010.
January – December 2007
Seventeen murders took place in 2007, with four trials complete, five were sentenced in 2008, one appeal and two trials taking place in 2010. Additionally, there were also:
- Two murderers sentenced 2010 (2006 cases).
The 71 murder victims:
(In alphabetical order)
- A, A., aged 77, PD, murdered March 2010 by arson attack, boy charged March 2010 (Warwickshire).
- A, K., aged 77, PD, murdered March 2010 by arson attack, boy charged March 2010 (Warwickshire).
- A., S., aged 23, PD, stabbed to death 2006, court case May 2010 (West Midlands).
- A., G., aged 59, vulnerable,tortured and beaten to death June 2010 (County Durham) woman jailed for 32 years, appeal refused.
- A, D., aged 64, MI, harassed to death March 2010, manslaughter charge dropped against two teenagers July 2010, one man still facing harassment charge (Greater Manchester).
- A, A., aged 62, PD, wheelchair user beaten to death April 2010, man charged, in court August 2010 (West Yorkshire).
- B, G., aged 61, PD, murdered by carer and two men June 2007, all sentenced July 2008, 18 and 20 years (Staffordshire).
- B, I., aged 87, PD, beaten and stabbed to death May 2010 by someone she knew (London).
- B, G., aged 46, LD, found murdered with severe head wounds February 2010. Man charged March 2010, in court October 2010 (Bedfordshire).
10. B, S., aged 52 , PD, strangled to death 2007, execution arranged by her ex-husband, sentenced to 22 years in June 2009 (Berkshire).
11. B, M., aged 48, PD, kicked to death by two men May 2008, sentenced to life October 2008, (Ayrshire).
12. B., P., aged 62, PD, wheelchair user killed December 2009, woman charged with assault December 2009 (Midlothian).
13. C, A., aged 71, MH, husband killed wife 2009, trail 2010 (Hampshire).
14. C, D., aged 18, MI, punched to death by gang of strangers 2009 (South Yorkshire).
15. D, H., aged 81, PD, killed July 2010 in care home (Northumbria).
16. E, L., aged 18, PD, beaten and stabbed to death 2008, two men sentenced 18 and 20 years Jan 2010 (Lancashire).
17. F, K., aged 41, MI, stabbed to death by neighbour November 2009, man sentenced to life imprisonment May 2010 (Greater Manchester).
18. F, H., aged 100, sensory and PD, stabbed to death February 2010, trial August 2010 (London).
19. F, G., aged 11, PD, murdered by mother May 2010 (Cardiff).
20. F, M., aged 59, murdered due to arson attack November 2009, three charged in court May 2010 (Cornwall).
21. G, A., aged 77, MI, beaten to death by granddaughter May 2007, sentenced to life July 2008 (West Yorkshire).
22. G, A., aged 35, vulnerable, tortured to death March 2010, three sentenced to life imprisonment January 2010, appeal refused May 2010 (County Durham).
23. G, M., aged 26, LD, enslaved by a family who tortured and dismembered him May 2009; five convicted April 2010 (Bedfordshire).
24. G, L., aged 31, PD, killed by mother with heroin overdose December 2008, mother cleared of attempted murder Jan 2010 (East Sussex).
25. G, P., aged 61,PD, suffocated to death 2007 by carer, three people subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to 17,18 and 19 years 2008 (Staffordshire).
26. G, A., aged 60, disabled, stabbed to death March 2008 man sentenced 19 years January 2009 (Norfolk).
27. G, L., aged 38, multiple impairments, murdered by father 2010 who committed suicide by driving car off cliff with son inside (Sharpness, Gloucestershire).
28. H, S., age unknown, PD, raped then stabbed to death 2006, man sentenced to life in 2007 (Hampshire).
29. H, F., aged 18, LD, killed by mother when she committed suicide in burning car October 2007 (Leicestershire).
30. H, H., aged 63, PD, woman stabbed to death July 2010 (near Aberdeenshire).
31. H, R., aged 65, PD, beaten to death in 2008 by neighbour and friend, man sentenced to life November 2008 (West Sussex).
32. H, N., aged 4, PD, drowned by mother November 2007 sentenced to 15 years September 2008 (West Cheshire).
33. H, P., aged 56, PD, murdered April 2010, (North Wales).
34. H, J., aged 22, MI, murdered/found dead 2008, mother committed suicide, no-one charged (Shropshire).
35. I, T., aged 22, MI, murdered by his mother November 2008, sentenced to life imprisonment January 2010 appealing (London).
36. J, C., aged 47, PD, murdered by husband and friend 2009 (West Lothian).
37. J, B., aged 48, PD, murdered March 2009, stabbed to death, neighbour sentenced 16 years, June 2010, (Dundee).
38. K, B., aged 85, PD, murdered by throat being slashed, May 2010 (Dorset).
39. L, C., aged 50, MI, harassed and humiliated as she died by three men who did not assist her, July 2007. One man convicted of outraging public decency sentenced to 3 years October 2007 (Middlesbrough).
40. L, Y. H., aged 18, MI, killed by being scorched to death in care home August 2007. Care home fined £145,000 (Oxfordshire).
41. L, P., aged 65, PD, murdered by husband September 2006, sentenced 2007 for 3 years, classed as ‘mercy killing’ (Merseyside).
42. M, D., aged 84, PD, abducted and scared to death May 2008, man sentenced 15 years March 2009 (Perthshire)
43. M, R., aged 58, MH, beaten to death by stranger July 2009; teenager sentenced 4 years May 2010 (Lanarkshire).
44. M, B., aged 23, LD, beaten to death by three men 2007, men sentenced to life (Tyne and Wear).
45. M, A., aged 39, vulnerable, murdered by paedophiles that feared she would report them to police in 1997; killers sentenced 30 and 26 years June 2010 (Ayrshire).
46. M, L., aged 19, LD, beaten and stabbed to death by friends in 2007, sentenced 2008 (Aberdeenshire).
47. M, J., aged 66, unknown impairment, battered to death with spade April 2007, man sentenced life November 2007 (Greater Manchester).
48. M, M., aged 21, PD, stabbed to death August 2008, trail 2010 (West Midlands).
49. N, J., aged 62, PD, stabbed to death by stranger February 2009, man sentenced 22 years March 2010 (Essex).
50. N, G., aged 74 , PD, murdered in 1995, murderer sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996, escaped open jail and re-caught in April 2010 (West Yorkshire).
51. O, O., aged 16 , PD, mauled by dogs before being stabbed to death April 2009 , man sentenced to life imprisonment March 2010 (London).
52. O, H., age unknown, PD, battered to death by neighbour 2007, man sentenced to life 2008 (Nottinghamshire).
53. P, A., aged 67, MI, stabbed to death by carer/friend January 2009, woman sentenced to eleven years Sept. 2009 (Lanarkshire).
54. R, S., aged 21, LD, murdered June 2010, seven young people, including two men, charged case ongoing (Lincolnshire).
55. S, T., aged 36, PD, beaten to death by gang December 2007, four sentenced February 2009, appeal June 2010 (Kent).
56. S, B., aged 73, PD, wheelchair user, beaten to death by burglar July 2007, case dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service October 2008 (Northamptonshire).
57. S, F., aged 59, PD, beaten to death July 2010, investigation ongoing (Tyne and Wear).
58. S, N., aged 54, PD, stabbed and burned to death April 2007; two men sentenced sixteen years (Kent).
59. S, M., aged 17, PD, stabbed to death November 2008 by boyfriend sentenced to eleven years in April 2009 (Ayrshire).
60. S, G., aged 70, PD and wheelchair user, murdered by husband April 2010, husband committed suicide (West Sussex)
61. T, M., aged 25, LD, stabbed to death by father 2008, sentenced to seventeen years, appeal for increase refused 2010 (Fife).
62. T, P., aged 85, PD, strangled to death in September 2009, killer sentenced thirty four years May 2010 (Teesside).
63. W, A., aged 29, PD, strangled to death October 2009, man sentenced twenty two years June 2010 (East Sussex).
64. W, K., aged 21, PD, murdered February 2009 by friend, man sentenced to life imprisonment October 2009 (Cheshire).
65. W, M., aged 31, LD, suffocated to death 2008 by two robbers sentenced to life 2009 (Fife).
66. Unknown disabled man with AIDs (PD) smothered to death by man 2010. Investigation ongoing (Area unknown).
67. Unknown disabled woman, MH, aged 58, murdered in mental health hospital August 2007 (Greater Manchester).
68. & 69. Unknown names and gender, two terminally ill people, GP admitted to killing them in 2010, these claims are being investigated by the police and Crown Prosecution Service (Wales).
70. Unknown disabled man, aged 74, PD and Deaf, attacked and robbed then died in Bristol, Somerset July 2010
71. T.W. aged 77. PD suspected mercy killing May 2010. Husband committed suicide August 2010.
- Recognise that intervention is required urgently to ensure no one feels they have no choice but to kill a disabled person just because they cannot cope with caring for them.
- There is an urgent need for risk assessments to be undertaken on the impending cuts to Social Care funding and the wider consequences this will have.
- We challenge the justice system not to allow ’mercy killings’ as a justification for murder.
- We require that the recording and monitoring of all crimes against disabled people be initiated promptly in recognition of the escalating attacks and murders against us.
- We require that cases that clearly demonstrate an attack, or murder, that is aggravated by the victim being a disabled person is recognised and used in all judicial process.
- We ask that legislation around Hate Crime is made equal for all, giving disabled people the same protection in law as others who experience attacks due to identity.
- This means including ‘disability’ in Incitement legislation as well as recognising Disability Hate Crime as a crime in and of itself rather then just an aggravating factor.
- The police need to set targets around disability hate crime. Most other forms of hate crime have performance targets, and are aimed at the number of perpetrators who are arrested and brought to justice (charged or cautioned), which are called ‘Sanction Detection Rates’. Whilst it is generally accepted that this is not always the best indicator of performance, we ask that a performance measure is urgently introduced so the profile of disability hate crime is increased, and the police can start focusing on improving low reporting rates and improve the quality of investigations and outcomes.
Range of attacks
The majority of physical and verbal assaults found in media articles are random attacks on streets, some are by groups of people or individuals, random in nature by unknown people. Listed below are certain types of attacks identified in the wide range of media reports researched. Actions are listed that could improve the experience of disabled people.
Some disabled people have been targeted by families, or groups of people, who subject the person to torture over a prolonged period of time. Humiliation, sexual abuse, starvation, repeated beatings, burns, shaving off all hair, abuse with household objects and parts of their body cut off or stabbed Another aspect is the filming of the humiliation and abuse, then these videos are shared for ‘fun’ and mockery of the disabled person. Several of the cases found have been perpetuated by young people under 18 who therefore receive very low sentences of two to four years for such serious crimes.
- Enforcement of Article 15(2) of the UN Convention on the rights of disabled people (UNCRPD), which states explicitly that:
‘States Parties shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’
- Punishment of such crimes with the full recourse of the law for those of 15 years or above, as they have full understanding of what they are doing.
- Review of such cases by the justice system, and advisement on changes needed to the law so that justice can be implemented accordingly.
- Recognition that such persistent attacks are aggravated due to disability and as such all sentences should be enhanced.
Rape and sexual abuse
Rape and sexual abuse can affect any disabled person. Many cases seem to be by carers/professionals working in the victim’s home or care environment but such assaults have also randomly occurred on the streets. Some disabled people have been targeted in accessible toilets, on public transport or in vehicles that transport disabled people to day centres or residential care.
Some victims have been raped by several people as well as being violently attacked in other ways. Disabled men and women with a range of impairments have experienced rape and sexual assaults.
When disabled people have reported rape they have experienced social barriers such as lack of accessible examination/support centres, communication difficulties. Further still, often a victim of such abuse is not believed or respected as a credible witness thereby denying the victim redress in law.
- Rape reporting/examination centres need to ensure accessibility as well as training for staff on Disability Equality.
- Non-compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and Duties is an issue that must be addressed so all victims of rape can access all services and support available.
This is a common experience for disabled people. Twelve of the murders detailed in this report were perpetrated by relatives of the victim. Attempted murders are also detailed by one man against his wife. He stated he believed his wife wanted to die even though she repeatedly stated she did not. This man has now been sentenced. Disabled men also get attacked by partners, or by a relative, yet this is an issue many ignore. Refuges and support has mainly been set up for women.
Furthermore, adult sons and daughters attack disabled parents sometimes due to the frustrations of caring responsibilities, other times due to wanting money or an inheritance.
It has not been possible to find many reports of domestic violence against disabled people in the media, except the murders, due to the nature of this crime and also because half as many women are sharing their experiences with the media. Due to the stigma around domestic violence men also find it difficult to reveal they have been a victim of such abuse.
In one case a physically disabled man was stabbed by his wife, who is also his carer, she was let off a custodial sentence and given a work order of 150 hours. Disability Awareness in Action has more evidence of such domestic violence against men then we have found in the media which could inform work on this issue.
However, some good research has been processed around disabled people and domestic violence so we are not detailing that which has been evidenced previously on this issue except to say we think there is significant under reporting and lack of accessible services for disabled people, men and women, who are victims of domestic violence. This includes the Womens Aid report –
- Refuges for victims of domestic violence need to ensure accessibility for a wide range of disabled people.
- Refuges and support for victims of domestic violence also need to address the issues of disabled men being victims and ensure their services are appropriate for them.
- Research into the prevalence of domestic violence against disabled men is also recommended.
- Appropriate levels of support are required for carers of disabled people and urgent attention given to those carers who state they are not coping.
- No person should be placed in a situation where they feel their only option is to kill a disabled child, of any age, or relative due to lack of social support.
- Implementation of Article 16(3)of the UNCRPD that states: ‘In order to prevent the occurrence of all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, States Parties shall ensure that all facilities and programmes designed to serve persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities.’ And that;
Article 16(5): ‘Parties shall put in place effective legislation and policies, including women – and child – focused legislation and policies, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against persons with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.’
Carer abuse takes many forms: verbal harassment, theft, rape and sexual abuse, physical violence and murder. Many disabled people have paid carers in their homes in a position of trust, this gives opportunities for theft or other forms of abuse. Nurses and care workers have also abused their position of trust verbally abusing, mocking, harassing and physically assaulting disabled people in their care.
Disabled people have been burnt with cigarettes or boiling bath water, pictures taken of them naked and distributed around the home, roughly manhandled, slapped and beaten.
In July 2010 an inquiry has revealed 44 claims of abuse, in a care home for people with learning difficulties. The police are now investigating these claims which include withholding of food and drink, being locked in cupboards and taken to well known sexual abuse ‘hot spots’ (according to media statements) as well as clients being left on their bus whilst carers went shopping for themselves.
999 Controllers recorded one incident of ambulance men deciding a physically disabled man’s life was not worth saving due to disability and mess in his home.
Couples with learning difficulties live in anxiety and fear of their children being taken from them due to an archaic policy that assesses the ability of the disabled person to be ‘good enough’ parent’s rather then supporting disabled parents in their responsibilities – as is done around individual disabled people with other impairments. Such actions are a violation of human rights and a form of targeted hostility from public services that needs to be addressed urgently.
There are not many recorded reports of these abuses, possibly due to the nature of the disabled people themselves not able to speak out without assistance or worried that reporting such abuse may makes things worse for them. This atmosphere of fear, lack of transparency and often the policies themselves which were meant to provide protection, can restrict reporting.
- There is much work progressed on safeguarding disabled people from some of these abuses but failures are common so more in depth work is required ensuring disabled people themselves are involved and advising on such policies.
- Training is required for disabled people who employ their own Personal Assistants around assessing and addressing safeguarding issues.
- Policies that violate disabled persons human rights must be urgently reviewed and changed.
- An independent process for disabled people in care, or using care resources like day centres, needs to be developed where they can communicate concerns or report abuse. This needs to be accessible and provide effective independent support to raise a complaint and see it through to the end.
- Fear of reprisal is an issue for victims when reporting an incident, although this should be addressed in any safeguarding action plan, many potential victims have no awareness of this policy. A positive campaign encouraging reporting in care settings to independent advocates, which would also share information on protection, for possible victims is recommended.
Disabled children are experiencing abuse, bullying, harassment and physical attacks in and outside schools. Many do not get into the news but some are detailed in this report.
From the evidence collected, disabled young people have been murdered, threatened, robbed, sexually abused in school and other care environments, raped, burnt, beaten up by gangs of older teenagers and adults, tortured and filmed for ‘fun’.
One boy who is a wheelchair user was slapped by burglars in his home, one boy alleges repeated sexual abuse by a social worker, one boy who uses crutches was attacked by a gang as he waited for a bus, one young girl stamped on and beaten, one disabled baby was verbally insulted in a shop by an assistant and one boy’s home was targeted for an arson attack.
Equipment which assist the disabled child has been targeted vandalised or stolen; such as a school sensory garden trashed three times, specialist sailing equipment damaged leading to closure of the sailing initiative for disabled children. In one area three adapted buses for disabled children were vandalised resulting in the children missing out on school lessons.
We view ‘bullying’ incited by the victims impairment as a form of targeted hostility and hate crime that needs to be addressed.
Schools and teaching staff are often slow to take disablist bullying seriously.
Often, disabled children experience repeated attacks by the same groups of people.
The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) has evidence of one instance of a disabled child being repeatedly bullied yet when the parent asked for help the head teacher suggested the child should ‘just get used to being teased’. UKDPC have evidence of a case where one deaf ,girl became a focus for repeated bullying, physical assault and threats to kill. The school refused to acknowledge there was a problem even when the disabled girl wanted to kill herself. The school stated it was ‘just kids being kids’.
Another case involves a young boy with multiple impairments who was excluded from school photographs. The head teacher suggested the boy have a section of the playground to separate him from other children. One play assistant described him as ‘a horrible boy’ in front of a playground of children. The parents felt he was just regarded as a ‘naughty child’, marginalised, harassed and excluded by their attitudes. The school eventually decided they could not meet the boy’s needs within the government’s policy of inclusion of disabled children in mainstream school.
We would not advocate punishing the young person doing the bullying but do expect the school to implement a robust anti bullying policy. The policy should recognise all similar attacks as situations that need to be dealt with by working with their community of staff and students and challenging the prejudice behind such attacks.
Bullying and hostility towards disabled children and young people also can occur in Special Schools which are often seen as ‘safe havens’. This assumption that such schools do not have such issues must be challenged and the reality addressed.
In the past, Anne Novis a leading activist on disability hate crime, has provided counselling to disabled children in aSpecialSchool. They have shared fears and anxieties when they are ‘picked on’ by other children and sometimes those in authority. The lack of belief about what disabled people experience is a common factor for all ages of disabled people.
Many young disabled people are also being targeted on public streets by gangs and individuals who think it is ‘fun’ to harass, demean, and physically hurt them. Verbal harassment often takes place first, then obstruction of the persons movements, then physical assault.
There is also evidence of increasing attacks on disabled children in some church environments. The children are deemed as ‘possessed by evil spirits’ or ‘witches’ and therefore to be punished and exorcised. One child was found with the burn mark of an iron on her back, others punched and beaten for behavioural difficulties.
- Training is required in schools that facilitate discussion, and awareness, about disability equality for staff and children. This could be facilitated by disabled young people themselves and via active participative methods with support from disabled adults.
- There should be a mechanism to monitor effectiveness of Education providers anti bullying policy – through OFSTED or other bodies.
- We would like to see a DVD and Toolkit developed for use in schools, by disabled people, to initiate and raise awareness of disability targeted hostility.
- Abuse of disabled children is not acceptable in any environment or institution yet the reality is their voice is barely heard. Whilst there are child specific help lines for abuse, the nature of a child’s impairment can add a barrier that is often not overcome by the service provider. Such service providers should have as a requirement of funding their accessibility assessed. This is a legal duty under the DDA.
- All religious establishments and places of worship in theUK, regardless of cultural differences, must abide by the laws of this land and the human rights of the individual child. Information and awareness-raising in such institutions is urgently required to address this growing concern. We also need to see appropriate legal measure taken against those who perpetuate such abuse of disabled children.
- We recommend accessible reporting sites are set up in schools, youth centres and other places where young people go or gather. These need to ensure they are available to the child, or young disabled person, in a safe environment which encourages them to share their experiences as well as being supported.
- Some Peer Support schemes have been set up in schools which could be widened in remit for disabled children and young people
- The Safe Haven scheme for people with learning difficulties could also be assessed for its suitability for disabled children and young people.
- A Disability History Month for schools would enable a focus to be placed on celebrating disabled peoples lives and would begin to breakdown the unhelpful stereotyping that drives bullying and harassment of disabled children and young people.
Some assaults and robberies have occurred in the disabled persons home, the level of physical attack being extreme when considering the lack of physical ability of some disabled persons to defend themselves.
A few burglars have seriously attacked a disabled victim whilst in their beds, unable to move without assistance.
Some incidents involve neighbour disputes becoming more and more hostile at times leading to murder.
- Targeted hostility by neighbours is a feature of many attacks and murders. Landlords and social housing providers need to ensure they are addressing this issue as is their duty under the DDA re eliminating harassment against disabled people.
- Advocacy services specific to this issue are required and recommended in local disabled peoples organisations (DPOs) wherever possible.
- Understanding from all involved that low level irritations, or targeted hostility, can lead to violent crimes against disabled people in their homes or neighbourhood is essential. Training could be provided by a local DPO or Disability Consultant to Multi Agency Safeguarding Panels and Hate Crime Boards at local levels.
- Housing Mediation Centres would be well placed to try and resolve such low level irritations but they must be staffed by well trained people who understand the Social Model of Disability. As these are voluntary organisations the local authorities who support them could ensure this as a condition of funding.
- Safer Neighbourhood Policing teams need to ensure they are in contact with disabled people in their areas and addressing security and safety issues as well as what may be called anti-social behaviour.
- Schemes that ensure disabled people are accessing as much security as possible for their homes is recommended.
Assault and robbery
This report only lists such cases that include a significant violent aspect. In many cases the theft seems to be a minor outcome of a targeted physical attack rather then the reason a disabled person is targeted. Often items stolen are found damaged or thrown away.
Where there has been actual theft of money or valuables the levels of the assaults are often far more extreme then required to steal such goods. Crutches, hearing aids, dark glasses, and other aids are being stolen and damaged.
- Police need to ensure they are recognising the nature of such assaults and robberies and recording them as hate incidents if the crime has obviously taken place due to a person being disabled or if the victim perceives, or feels, they were attacked for this reason.
- Many such crimes are not being recorded or investigated appropriately and doing an injustice to the experience of the victim.
- Currently legislation will only recognise disability as an aggravating factor for a crime such as assault and robbery yet is often not used. Until we get better legislation we are looking to see a much wider user of the protection we have in law. Therefore all police officers need training to recognise when a crime has been aggravated by the person’s impairment.
- Using the excuse that a person is ‘vulnerable’ and that is why they are attacked is not acceptable anymore. We all are vulnerable when someone wants to attack or target us for crime. Better recording and recognition of such crimes is essential
Befriending/Grooming of disabled people
Evidence shows that befriending, personal assistance and formal caring often uncover targeted hostility. This has led to murders, vicious physical attacks, torture and persistent harassment and theft of the victim’s money. The nature of such ‘grooming’ and ‘befriending’ can take the form of a person forming a caring/friendship role, deliberately spending time with the disabled person socially, offering to assist with household chores, shopping etc. This then places them in the position of accessing bank accounts or welfare benefits. Others control the disabled person in such ways that they become dependent on the ‘friend’ leading to abuse, torture and at times murder.
- It is not possible to safeguard all disabled people to the degree required to prevent such abuse but educating and raising awareness about this type of crime would assist. It has been mainly disabled people with care and support needs who have been victims of such crimes so extra input for these disabled people by social services, specific user led organisations and disabled peoples organisations setting up awareness raising projects would be of value.
- We recommend that advocacy projects, run by and for disabled people, are essential. Anyone experiencing this, or other sorts of abuse, can then speak about their experiences in accessible ways.
- Peer support is another method which could give a safe place for disabled people to share concerns.
- Police visiting and becoming familiar with places disabled people go and increasing their presence and building relationships could encourage reporting.
This is an experience of many disabled people and is leading to some trying to protect themselves either with disability equipment, such as walking sticks, or as in one case a repeat victim buying a fake gun to try and prevent the repeated attacks he experienced. It has been a saddening experience to read that such victims have actually been charged with a crime by police who then ignore the perpetrators of the repeat attacks.
- The lack of understanding by police officers around disability hate crime is not acceptable. Whilst recognising they have not had training on this specific issue, they have received equality and hate crime training. All this knowledge should be easily transferable regarding disability targeted hostility or hate crime. Yet the reality is there is a significant lack of understanding and also lack of recording or monitoring.
- National recording of disability hate crime is meant to start in April 2011. This report recommends that systems ensure repeat victims can be easily identified.
Over 80 wheelchair and mobility scooter users were physically assaulted, verbally abused, harassed and/or victims of assault and robbery. All of these happened on local high streets or near the wheelchair user’s home. It is common for wheelchair users to be tipped out of their chairs as part of the physical attacks. This has led to some victims being left stranded on a pathway unable to call or access assistance for some time adding to the distress of the victim. It is also a practice that leads to significant harm to the wheelchair user.
These attacks can happen even when the wheelchair user is with someone else so this is not just about the thinking these people are easy targets or ‘vulnerable’.
- Providers of such equipment need to be ensuring they raise awareness of the user around this type of hostility and making available added safety equipment such as audio alarms or direct link to police via a specific radio or mobile phone attachment. New technology offers many imaginative options which could be explored to enhance the safety of wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
- Local police need to raise awareness of wheelchair and mobility scooters users about what they can do to be safer or how to respond to such attacks.
- Some schemes have provided self defence classes for users of this equipment this could be explored in more depth by local DPOs.
- Equally we need to see the police taking firm action against such criminals, using the full recourse of the law, and recognising the ‘hate’ element.
People with visual impairments and guide dogs
Evidence from Guide Dogs for the Blind has shown that those who are blind, or have visual impairments, have experienced many instances of guide dogs being attacked, white canes and dark glasses stolen and damaged. In the last year it has been common for guide dogs to be attacked by fighting breeds of dogs deliberately incited to attack by the owners. Some guide dogs have been killed or so seriously traumatised they cannot work anymore.
- Public service providers must ensure they comply with equality duties and not target a disabled person because of the nature of their impairment.
- Recent research has detailed increasing attacks on guide dogs so specific responses need to be explored with guide dog users as to how they could be safer and owners of attacking dogs brought to justice.
- The targeting of specific disability related equipment is a form of hate crime and must be recorded as such by police.
Stones or other forms of missiles like stones and snowballs have been deliberately thrown at disabled people even whilst sitting in their cars. Football fans have targeted missiles at physically disabled people in the stands and made fun of the persons walking or other difficulties trying to get out of the stadium. Rocks have also been thrown through windows and at adapted vehicles.
- All those involved in crowd control need awareness training about disabled people being targeted and actions taken to prevent this as much as possible.
- As we prepare for the Olympics in 2012 this issue needs to be explored with disabled people’s organisations.
Many disabled people have also been harassed and attacked on public transport. Sometimes this is due to disputes about the designated wheelchair space on buses with parents with baby buggies. Often this has led to the disabled person not getting on the bus due to the targeted abuse they experience. Some disabled people with learning difficulties can become a target that is followed onto public transport to ridicule, harass and/or attack.
The drivers of buses also sometimes perpetuate harassment by not reporting incidents, not supporting the wheelchair users right to a space on the bus, telling the disabled person, rather then those who are abusive, to get off the bus. Those disabled people who sit in a designated seat who are not obviously disabled have experienced harassment and assaults even when they have explained their conditions.
- CCTV use on public transport is essential and this resource should be widely advertised to try and prevent assaults and harassment of anyone.
- This includes monitoring how drivers respond to disabled people.
- Clear guidance is required and needs to be enforced about the designated spaces for disabled people on public transport.
- Education of other users of public transport about what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and penalty fines enforced for breaking such rules.
- More community police or wardens on public transport would also ease the concerns of disabled people but they must be trained so they are aware of what is disability hate crime.
These attacks on disability equipment and venues such as day centres and sheltered housing are common. Mobility scooters have been targeted many times over recent years, some push the scooter in front of the victims’ doorway which has led to deaths of two disabled people this year as well as people having to be rescued by fire fighters and becoming very ill due to smoke inhalation.
- Fire prevention community awareness needs to include specific guidance to users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
- Many incidents were able to take place due to equipment left outside a person’s home, it must be the duty of landlords and social housing providers to ensure appropriate space and storage for disabled peoples equipment.
- Sheltered housing providers need to ensure safe places for mobility scooters.
- Insurance for such equipment needs to also be promoted.
Verbal harassment can range from derogatory name-calling, deliberate and hostile staring at the disabled person. Mothers have experienced babies being called nasty names, groups of young people sneering and taunting the victim and adults deliberately aggressively hostile stating that the victim should never have been born and should be killed.
Victims are told off for being a burden on the state, work shy, fraudsters, ridiculed for needing care and/or support. They have also been threatened with being reported to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) fraud hotline by complete strangers and many disabled people have actually been reported maliciously.
Their movements have been watched by neighbours for any indication of them not being a true disabled person. Some write to newspapers stating a disabled person needs too much care to be in the community.
Such constant abuse can become extremely frightening and leads to disabled people restricting their movements, going out and about, even to moving away due to fear of the hostility they experience.
- The impact of such harassment is significant for all people who experience hate crime yet often what disabled people experience is defined as anti- social behaviour. This is leading to a lack of understanding about the serious impact on disabled peoples lives of such incidents. It also gives the message that what disabled people experience is not the same as other targeted individuals who are victims due to their identity. Being a disabled person is an identity, one we cannot change, and must be understood.
- All public services need to ensure that they are not encouraging or perpetuating harassment against disabled people. If a fraud reporting line is misused then penalties and legal action must be the consequence. If this is not followed then the message is given its ok to falsely accuse a disabled person of fraud which is not acceptable.
- Political leaders and those who are in positions of public responsibility also need to ensure they are complying with equality legislation and ensuring dignity and respect for all human beings. Labelling disabled people in a derogatory way leads to others copying such behaviour and using the words our leaders use against disabled people.
- A scheme called Safe Havens has been initiated for people with learning difficulties. This is about various venues such as local shops, pubs, and community centres being designated as a Safe Haven for a disabled person who has been threatened, harassed or experiencing any form of hostility. The workers are prepared to have the victim come inside, have time out, speak to police if required. This is a scheme that could be encouraged and available for all disabled people so when they plan a journey they will know where such Safe Places are.
As the use of the internet has expanded so has the methods used to harass disabled people. We have evidence of people inciting others to attack and even kill disabled people. One site targeted Deaf people specifically, and other disabled people, the site owner bragged about attacks on Deaf people and how he would kill them if he could, people responding to the Facebook site responded with encouragement although there was also outrage expressed, another targeted people withDownssyndrome. Some have been deliberately set up to con disabled people out of thousands of pounds.
One MP’s website had photos of disabled people and named them as different members of other parties ministers, ridiculing those targeted as having certain types of impairments. The MP disclaimed all connection with the material yet allowed it to stay on the website for many weeks.
Even the governments own website on the ‘Spending Challenge’ allowed people to post ideas about sterilising and enslaving disabled people and putting us in a workhouse type environment. The responses expressed to these ideas evidenced the high level of hostility towards disabled people in theUKwhich sadly the recent government’s plans and comments re welfare reform has encouraged. No appropriate moderation was engaged even though many people complained no action was taken for some time. We perceive such lack of appropriate management of websites as inciting hatred towards disabled people.
- Legislation and controls of internet uses and abuses are in place but are very difficult to police. It would make sense for current and future Equality legislations to cover online discrimination and harassment.
- No individual should be able to incite hatred against disabled people via such methods, but we have no recognition of this in current legislation around incitement to commit hate crime as disabled people are not included. This must change urgently so we have equality of protection in law.
- Our government ministers must take responsibility for the language they use, and statements they make, about disabled people on websites, Facebook, Twitter etc. This also means ensuring that government owned sites are responsibly moderated and maintained.
- The EHRC also has a responsibility to address complaints by disabled people to them about such abuse and its consequences.
No known work has been progressed to profile the attackers of disabled people. From media reports only a little information can be gathered about the attackers and some of this may be distorted or incorrect so we only detail what is stated in the articles. It has to be recognised that there will be distortion in the facts we offer here as so few disabled people report incidents to the police and even fewer to the media.
The majority of attacks in the media have occurred in public or the disabled person’s home or care environment. Past research has stated most attacks on disabled people are by known neighbours or friends of the victim. Whilst this is also evidenced in the media articles re murders, carer abuse, arson attacks, rape and sexual abuse it is not evidenced around all the murders or majority of assaults, robberies, harassment, and online attacks.
Many incidents have been by groups of young people, girls and boys of three or more. But the majority have been by one person who decides either randomly, or specifically, to target a disabled person. Such attacks have been unprovoked in nature which is evidence enough that these are cases of hate crime and should be dealt with as such by police.
- Professional perpetrator profiling is urgently required around the murders and violent attacks of disabled people. This could be facilitated by the police or CPS who have engaged professionals to undertake such work around domestic violence, for instance.
- A campaign to counteract the stereotypes and mis-beliefs about disabled people would challenge such perceptions. But this must originate from specialist disabled people/organisations with an understanding of the Social Model of Disability.
- Some past campaigns originating from non disabled people with the best of intentions have actually perpetuated and encouraged stereotyping and given more ways for people to abuse.
Reasons for targeted hostility This section should remain – though it might be better to put as conclusion.
There are many reasons and factors as to why a person decides to deliberately target a disabled person. From the language used about us it seems some is based on stereotyping and misbeliefs about what disabled people get in benefits, free, or it’s assumed fraudulently.
Many believe we are a burden too far for the state and for families to cope with, others believe that we get advantages that others do not such as ‘free new cars’ cheaper housing, extra money in benefits.
Also it is recognised that the way society treats disabled people unconsciously affects peoples perception re disability. From the criteria for abortions, the issue of segregation into special schools, homes or day centres, euthanasia and assisted suicide. All these debates inform the opinions of society about disabled people. Unfortunately most of this is negative and derogatory thereby encouraging misbeliefs about our capacities, abilities and value as human beings.
At times of recession and social change the focus on disabled people can become very hostile as people fight for jobs and limited resources. The language used about disabled people by our leaders also has its impact and therefore it’s very important that our leaders are aware of the power they have to influence opinions and use such power wisely.
It can take just one government minister choosing a derogatory term about disabled people or stating that so many commit fraud, when this is not actually true, to encourage a belief that people are justified in targeting disabled people in hostile and violent ways.
If society already believes disabled people are lives of less value it takes only a little more nudging to incite hatred and encourage hostility.
- Our children need to be taught to embrace difference from a very early age, integrating disabled children where positively into mainstream schools is very important as is the teaching they receive about different peoples identity
- Training for all political leaders is urgently required so they understand the impact of their words when they target disabled people for service cuts and welfare reforms. Such reforms are not bad in themselves but the way they are advertised or decided upon must include the voice of disabled people.
- ‘Nothing about us without us’ is an ethos which is still not fully understood, even though we have legislation to ensure such inclusion, decisions are made every day, about us, without us.
This report has collated evidence about a range of hostility against disabled people. Hundreds of media articles and other evidence has given us a glimpse into the hidden world that many have not believed existed. A world of inhumanity, horror and degradation. The world as it is for millions of disabled people throughout the world.
Our hope is that this evidence, with all the other evidence the EHRC inquiry will gather, will jump star a collection of strategies, polices and action plans at local and national level to ensure that disabled people are assured their human right to freedom from harassment and justice.
We are waiting to see evidence of disabled peoples organisations empowered to address this issue at local levels, with funding provided to Disabled People’s Organisations so we can resource, and train up, our future leaders of DPOs to actively work on the hostility and violations of human rights disabled people experience.
We wait still to see an approach that validates our message that nothing, absolutely nothing, should be initiated without the voice of disabled people being heard, involved, influencing and assisting to provide such initiatives.
We hope to see positive responses, to this report, from all justice agencies, local authorities and police services. A response that hears the voice of disabled people speaking out loudly and clearly in every aspect of this report.
This list below provides a more detailed breakdown of each of the murder cases used in this report. Please note some cases are not described full in this report, as many are part of ongoing investigations.
- 15 murders were committed by relatives, three of whom committed suicide after or during the murders:
- Five men killed, or arranged the execution of their wives.
- One man killed his girlfriend.
- Six mothers killed their children; two adult daughters; two young daughters under 18; one adult son; and one young son under 18.
- One adult son killed his elderly mother.
- Adult granddaughter killed her grandmother for inheritance.
- One father killed his adult disabled daughter.
- 17 murders were committed by two or more people (some were strangers and some were friends):
- One gang of two boys, two girls and two men attacked a disabled man.
- One gang of two men and one woman attacked and tortured a disabled man.
- One gang of two women attacked and robbed disabled man who died after attack.
- One gang of four men attacked a disabled man.
- One gang of three men killed a disabled man.
- Three men punched a disabled young man to death.
- Two men killed a disabled man.
- Twin brothers killed a disabled man.
- One man and two boys (aged 16 and 17) killed a disabled man.
- One family of three men and three women tortured and then killed a disabled man.
- Two boys (aged 18 and 17) frightened a disabled man to death.
- One gang of three teenage boys killed a disabled woman by putting fireworks through her front door.
- One gang of boys started a fire and killed a disabled couple.
- Two men killed a disabled young woman.
- Two men and a woman killed a disabled young woman.
- One female carer, her son and his friend killed a disabled man.
- Three men harassed and humiliated a disabled woman as she died.
- Two male burglars tipped a man out of his wheelchair, causing him to bang his head and die.
- 28 victims were murdered by strangers:
- Five murders were committed by paid carers (some with the help of other people).
- Nine murders were committed by neighbours/friends.
- Three murders were due to arson attacks (two of these were due to a mobility scooter being set alight and placed across the front door of their sheltered home and the third victim had fireworks placed through her letter box).
- One GP admitted to killing two very ill people.
- One person admitted to assisting a suicide.
- One person was murdered in a mental health hospital by another patient.
The following pages detail statistical breakdown of the media articles gathered. The media articles are in the Appendix to this report which can be accessed for research by relevant professions.
2010 (January – July)
Incidents/Crimes – 24 murders and 317 attacks/incidents
Attempted Murders – 4
Torture – 2
Kidnap – 1
Assaults – 95
Assault and robbery – 44
Rape and sexual assault – 30
Domestic Violence – 7
Carer abuse – 68 includes 44 allegations of abuse in care home.
Harassment/bullying – 21
Befriending/grooming – 6
Disability equipment damage, guide dog attacks, theft and vandalism – 19 plus many guide dogs attacked by fighting dogs.
Arson attacks – 7
Online abuse/threats – 6
Gender – 311
Unknown – 53 includes 44 allegations of abuses in care home of men and woman with learning difficulties.
Impairments – 310
Physical disability- 143
Learning difficulty – 87 includes 44 claims of abuse in a care home
Sensory – 33
Mental health issues – 11
Multiple impairments -11
Vulnerable/disabled – 24
Unknown – 2
Incidents/crimes – 15 murders and 96 attacks/incidents
Assaults – 42
Assault and robbery – 12
Rape and sexual assault – 8
Carer abuse/ sexual abuse – 5
Befriending/grooming – 1
Harassment/bullying – 20
Arson attacks – 2
Equipment damage – 6
Gender – 96
Male – 63
Female – 31
Unknown – 2
Impairments – 96
Physical disability – 58
Learning difficulty – 16
Sensory – 7
Mental Health Issues – 3
Multiple Impairments – 6
Unknown impairment – 6
Incidents/crimes – 14 murders and 76 attacks/incidents
Attempted murders – 1
Torture – 2
Assaults – 27
Assault and robbery -15
Rape and sexual assault – 7
Carer abuse/sexual abuse – 4
Befriending/grooming – 1
Harassment/bullying etc – 7
Arson attacks – 4 detailed
Equipment damage/theft – 8 detailed
Gender – 76 attacks
Male – 55 attacks
Female – 21 attacks
Impairments – 76 attacks
Physical disability – 44 attacks
Learning Difficulty – 18 attacks
Sensory – 9 attacks
Mental health issues – 2 attacks
Multiple Impairments – 1 attack
Unknown – 2 attacks
2007 (August – December) 17 murders and 17 attacks /incidents
Assaults – 9
Domestic Violence – 1
Harassment – Group of war veterans
Rape and sexual assault – 1
Arson attacks – 4
Equipment theft/damage – 2
Male – 11
Female – 6
Physical disability – 14 plus group of war veterans/amputees
Learning Difficulty – 1
Sensory – 1
Mental Health Issues – 0
Multiple Impairments – 1
Geographical areas of attacks/murders/deaths August 2007- July 2010
The breakdown below lists a total 70 murders and 519 attacks/incidents. As in the main report, please note that not all articles listed the area inUK.
- Unknown Region – 1 murder and 12 attacks
- North East – 6 murders and 33 attacks
- Tyneand Wear – 2 murders and 13 attacks
- Teesside – 1 murder and 10 attacks
- Darlington- 2 murders and 2 attacks
- Northumberland – 1 murder and 5 attacks
- Sheffield– 3 attacks
- North West – 8 murders and 77 attacks
- Cheshire– 2 murders and 2 attacks
- Cumbria– 6 attacks
- Lancashire– 1 murder and 31 attacks
- Manchester– 4 murders and 22 attacks
- Merseyside – 1 murder and 16 attacks
- Yorkshire and Humberside – 5 murders and 73 attacks
- East Midlands – 4 murders and 43 attacks
- Lincolnshire– 1 murder and 10 attacks
- Nottinghamshire -1 murder and 6 attacks
- Derbyshire – 8 attacks
- Leicestershire – 1 murder and 10 attacks
- Northamptonshire – 1 murder and 9 attacks
- West Midlands – 7 murders and 27 attacks
- Staffordshire – 2 murder and 3 attacks
- Shropshire– 1 murder and 2 attacks
- Worcestershire – 2 murder 14 attacks
- Warwickshire – 2 murders and 4 attacks
- Walsall– 2 attacks
- Stourbridge – 1 attack
- Coventry– 1 attack
- East Anglia – 5 murders and 45 attacks
- Norfolk– 1 murder and 5 attacks
- Cambridgeshire – 4 attacks
- Bedfordshire – 2 murders and 3 attacks
- Hertfordshire – 4 attacks
- Suffolk– 5 attacks
- Essex– 2 murders and 5 attacks
- London – 3 murders, 1 death and 35 attacks
- South East – 10 murders and 43 attacks
- West Sussex– 2 murder and 3 attacks
- East Sussex– 2 murders and 3 attacks
- Kent– 2 murder and 6 attacks
- Hampshire – 2 murders 19 attacks
- Oxfordshire – 1 murder 6 attacks
- Surrey– 2 attack and group of war veterans harassed
- Buckinghamshire – 2 attacks
- Berkshire– 1 murder and 2 attack
- South West – 4 murders and 37 attacks
- Dorset– 1 murder 4 attacks
- Wiltshire – 1 attack
- Devon– 6 attacks
- Cornwall– 1 murder 3 attacks
- Gloucestershire – 1 murder and 7 attacks
- Somerset – 1 murder and16 attacks
- Northern Ireland – 18 attacks
- Wales – 4 murders and 11 attacks
- Scotland – 13 murders and 65 attacks
- Edinburgh and the Lothian’s – 2 murders and 24 attacks
- MidScotlandandFife– 2 murders and 1 attack
- GlasgowandClydeValley– 3 murders and 15 attacks
- Aberdeencity and shire – 2 murder and 6 attacks
- Ayrshire andArran– 2 murders and 3 attacks
- Perthshire – 1 murder and 5 attacks
- Ross shire andInverness– 2 attacks
- Angus andDundee– 1 murder and 4 attacks
- Highlandsand Moray – 1 attack
- Scottish Borders – 1 attack
- Stirling–1 attack
- Unknown region – 2 attacks
UK evidence contained on the Disability Awareness in Action (DAA) human rights database, as at February 2006.
The Disability Awareness in Action (DAA) database has collected violations against over 2 million disabled individuals around the world for the last three years. All violations have occurred since 1990 and have been verified – we do not accept just an individual’s account. Violations of articles 3 and 5 are generally obtained through reputable media channels or law reports.
In theUKwe have information on 999 cases of violations affecting 366.458 disabled people. 59% are violations against women only and 18.5% are against children.
The real horror story is that 40.9% of these violations in theUKare of degrading and inhuman treatment (Article 5) and 9.8% (682 people) violate the right to life itself (Article 3).
A further 26.3% have their standard of living violated (article 25), 11% have their freedom of movement violated (article 13) – this includes transport violations. 9% have their right to employment violated. And 4.8% have their right to education violated (article 26). There are also violations under most of the other articles.”
Some examples from the DAA Database:
1995 – A man killed his 40 year-old disabled brother by suffocation. He pleaded guilty but was not given a custodial sentence.
1997 – A 34 year-old man with paraplegia was murdered by his wife, a nurse, who gave him a lethal dose of insulin. Whilst he lay in hospital she also tampered with his feeding tubes. She was sentenced to life imprisonment.
1998 – 2001 Residents of a geriatric unit suffered verbal & physical abuse for three years, including forced to bathe in freezing water, hit with showerheads, had their hands tied behind their backs, had mouths and lips pinched for swearing, verbally and physically abused.
2000 – A 33 year old man with dyslexia was shrink-wrapped with plastic and verbally abused by his work mates.
2000 – Headmaster of a school for disabled children physically abused several of the children. He received a custodial sentence of one year.
2001 – A blind council tenant was evicted, his locks changed and his guide dog shut outside his flat because he had received a written notice and not a Braille communication. The Council apologised but there was no compensation.
2001 – A man with a learning disability was walking home with another physically disabled person when they were set on by a gang of youths and hit to such an extent that they required stitches.
2001 – A care home nurse injected 84 year-old patient with a lethal dosage of sedative because she was too lazy to look after her. The nurse was jailed for life.
2002 – A one year-old baby with spina bifida was killed by severe fractures to the skull by her mother and boyfriend who alleged that his 3 year-old daughter had drowned the baby in a cold bath.
2002 – A 30 year-old man with mental health problems was kicked to death by three youths outside a supermarket. The attackers have been convicted of murder and been given sentences of at least nine years.
2003 – A man with visual impairment and mobility problems was verbally abused by children in local park who also threw stones at him and his guide dog.
2003 – Children displaying disruptive behaviour due to ADHD in young offenders institution are being stripped naked and locked in small cells with no furniture, light or toilet facilities.
2004 – A woman in care home was raped by volunteer. He had applied to become a volunteer whilst serving a prison sentence for burglary and thefts from charity shops.
2004 – A 38 year-old disabled woman living with a family friend was used as an unpaid servant, nanny and hired out to others for £2.00 a day. She sometimes had to sleep on the floor and had her benefits taken away from her.
The Social Model of Disability (Fundamental Principles 1975)
Disability is the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by contemporary social organisation that takes little or no account of people who have impairments and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities. Disability is a particular form of social oppression.
Disability is a situation, caused by social conditions. In order to get rid of disability, we need to make sure that:
- That not one aspect, such as incomes, mobility or institutions is treated in isolation.
- That disabled people should, with the advice and help of others, assume control over their own lives.
- That professionals, experts and others who seek to help must be committed to promoting such control by disabled people.
The Social Model of Disability
- was developed by disabled people to describe and take action against discrimination
- it frames the “problem” of disability in social terms rather than viewing the disabled person as the problem
- it enables us to define specific areas for change, and in particular to identify negative attitudes, communication barriers and physical access as major areas for improvement
- it enables disabled people to join together to campaign for better attitudes and improved communication and access, no matter what their impairment
- it enables disabled people to express their situation in terms of human rights and as an issue of equality
- it takes the focus off what disabled people can’t do and puts it on what we could all do in alliance to bring about equality
- Please note: other models of disability which disempower and oppress are all individual models. The medical model, focusing on functional impairment is the best known but we can also identify an administrative model, managing the demands of disability through assessment; and a charity model, responding to disability as a personal tragedy.
 Disclaimer: The figures used throughout this report are based on media articles that have been researched extensively over a period three years. There will have been many attacks and incidents that do not get captured in the media. And sometimes media details are not always correct. Faith, sexuality and race issues are not consistently provided in media articles, so these are not detailed.