Communications News: Hate crime against disabled spurs call for changes in law

One-third of disabled people in Scotland have changed their daily routine and one-quarter have had to move home after being subjected to hate crimes, according to new research from Capability Scotland and the Disability Rights Commission.

As a result, the two organisations are lobbying the Scottish Executive's Hate Crime Working Group consultation for the law on hate crime to be extended to protect disabled people.

They are also calling for new approaches to enable the police to support disabled people, and for resources to be allocated for a long-term campaign to tackle prejudice against disability.

The research reflected the views of 158 people across Scotland with a wide range of disabilities. "It has revealed the ugly, silent hatred which many people face as part of their everyday lives," said Michelle Hegarty, director of communications at Capability Scotland.

Strangers were most likely to carry out attacks, but only 40 per cent of victims had reported them to police. A further survey by the commission found 88 per cent are in favour of criminalising verbal abuse behaviour, bringing the law in line with England and Wales.

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