From: Melanie Close (CEO) Disability Equality (nw) Tel: 01772-556683
Leading Disability Rights campaigner, Stephen Brookes MBE told a recent conference that Lancashire is leading the way on dealing with hate crime across the county. He noted that Lancashire Constabulary are performing particularly well in comparison to their counterparts across the country and especially with their innovate work with third sector organisations.
Stephen was speaking at a Disability Hate Crime Conference that was facilitated by Preston-based charity, Disability Equality (nw) last month. The conference was organised to raise awareness of hate crime particularly as disability hate crime is still under-reported despite the best efforts of the police, campaigners and disability organisations.
Stephen is the Co-ordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, Disability Rights UK Ambassador and a member of the Lancashire CPS Scrutiny Panel. He has a long association with Disability Equality and Lancashire police to further the rights of disabled people. He said, ‘We still need to create confidence in reporting hostility and hate crimes towards disabled people but I am very encouraged at the work being undertaken in Preston and other parts of Lancashire. The police have developed a pro-active approach to developing alternative ways that people can report hate crime and Disability Equality was one of the first ‘third-party reporting centres’ from which there has been much to learn’.
Detective Chief Superintendent, Sue Clark and Hate Crime Lead for Lancashire Constabulary said, ‘We are very fortunate have the support and specialisms that third sector organisations like Disability Equality provide to victims. What starts off as minor incidents of hostility or harassment can all too often escalate into serious hate crimes towards disabled people, that can have dire consequences.’
The conference, held at Plungington Community Centre, attracted around 60 disabled people, carers, disability organisations and hate crime victims. There were lots of activities and role play involving disabled people as a varied way of getting the disability hate crime awareness message across.
Disability Equality Chief Executive, Melanie Close said, ‘Everyone in society has the right to live in safety and secure in the knowledge that help is available when needed. Far too often disabled people are seen as an ‘easy target’ by perpetrators and are equally vulnerable to falling through the support services ‘net’. It is vital that disabled people and those around them recognise disability hate crime and how to report it – that is why third party reporting centres are so important to providing an open door and welcome to anyone who is worried about hate crime’.
In an emergency call 999
Call the police on 101 or report on line via True Vision at www.report-it.org.uk
Or visit www.lancashire.police.uk for details of Third-party reporting centres
Independent Living Services, Disability Hate Crime, Managed Accounts, Information and Advice drop-ins, Digital Inclusion and Disability Awareness Training and are based at 103 Church Street Preston PR1 3BS.
Registered Charity no: 1114622 Registered Company no. 5506903