PBS4 have signed up to be a Third Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre. The scheme is jointly led by Hampshire Constabulary and Spectrum Centre for Independent Living and we are joining a network of over 30 Reporting Centres in Hampshire.
Hate crime refers to any crime that is motivated by difference. People with learning disabilities are vulnerable to hate crime. A recent report from Dimensions suggests that 73% of people with learning disabilities report experiencing hate crime, and the sad reality is the number is probably higher.
Society can treat people with learning disabilities as second class citizens. It can be seen as ok to mock others by using offensive terms, such as “retard”, which were previously used medical terms for learning disability. This leads to the impression that it is offensive to be referred to as having a learning disability, so having a learning disability must be a negative thing.
Many people with learning disabilities as a result of this are subject to verbal and physical abuse, taunting, exploitation, and damage to their property. Many people with learning disabilities have experienced this all their lives so may not know that it is wrong. For some the level of their learning disability may lead to them being exploited or abused and not understanding it is wrong, such as in mate crimes where people pretend to be their friends, or they may not use words to communicate so struggle to express what is happening to them.
For some people with learning disabilities they may be unable to report things to the police, they may fear the police, or have experience of talking to the police and not being believed.
For PBS4 as a Third Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre we hope to be part of the solution to this. People with learning disabilities or those who support them can come to the PBS4 office or call us. We are experienced in communicating with people with learning disabilities. We can listen to concerns and help consider what the person wants to do about it. We can reassure people that hate crimes against them are wrong and must stop. We can report crimes to the police on their behalf and protect their anonymity if needed.
We are just starting on our journey as a Third Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre. We are looking forward to being part of a community of support that aims to tackle hate crime and make our communities safe for everyone.
To find out more about hate crime reporting centres click here