A DVD which highlights the harrowing experiences of some people with learning disabilities who have been victims of disability hate crime is being launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger at a special screening.
The 15 minute feature will be used as a training tool and shown to police officers, staff and partners to raise awareness of the true impact of crimes against disabled people and hopefully address the levels of under-reporting across Teesside.
Last year there were only 23 reports of disability hate crime incidents; however police and support charities believe victims aren’t coming forward, either because of fear or that they are not aware incidents are classed as Hate Crime and can be reported to the Police so they carry on living with people’s taunts and abuse.
The short film has taken months of planning and features real life stories. IMPACT Drama Group, part of Middlesbrough Community Inclusion Service, directed and featured in the case studies. Their efforts will be shown at this special screening session at The Arc in Stockton on Thursday 8th May and posters will be displayed across Teesside to raise awareness of Disability Hate Crime and the importance of making reports.
Transport Company Arriva has also been involved and provided a bus for filming a scene. They plan to highlight the warning signs of hate incidents on vehicles to their bus drivers.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: "I’ve spoken to many people about disability hate crime and what’s clear is that the impact is much wider reaching than just the victim themselves as it causes turmoil for carers and families.
"It’s disappointing that people aren’t coming forward to report incidents and this must be addressed. We are proud to have been involved in the planning and development of the DVD, which is a fantastic tool in order to improve the service to victims and I would like to thank the members of IMPACT Drama Group for helping to raise awareness in this way."
"Cleveland is not unique in the fact that disability hate crime is under-reported but as a Force we are dealing with it head on by raising awareness of ways in which to report the crime and enhance our training to officers and staff."
"Incidents and crimes are can take the form of name calling in the street, serious assaults, and deliberate deception of vulnerable people with disabilities. These are completely unacceptable and it’s important that officers can identify where a crime has a disability hate element and how to raise awareness of reporting with victims, carers and families."
Linda Lord from Middlesbrough Community Inclusion Service added: "We have been working closely with Inclusion North to raise awareness of Disability Hate Crime and Hate Crime incidents with people with learning disabilities, their families and carers (including support staff). We hope that by raising the profile of Disability Hate Crime more people with learning disabilities, along with members of the public will report Disability Hate Crime incidents."
Middlesbrough Council Well Being Care & Learning Community Inclusion Service added "The focus of the Community Inclusion service is to openly promote rights, values and opportunities for Adults with a Learning Disability within their local community, so as to help enhance personalisation , and to eradicate victimisation and hate crime. CIS work closely with local community groups /agencies and the Middlesbrough Learning Disability Partnership Board to help share and promote key messages about learning disability issues."
"The recent opportunity for customers to get involved with the development of a Hate crime DVD alongside Cleveland Police and the Arriva Bus company has been a valued experience for all involved, one that will go a long way towards hopefully the eventual eradication of hate crime for Adults with a Learning Disability in Middlesbrough and beyond."
Posted on Wednesday 7th May 2014