Violent hate crime against disabled people rose by 41% in a year, figures suggest

Support us and go ad-free

Disability hate crime involving violence has risen by 41% in a year, figures suggest.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by charity Leonard Cheshire also showed the number of offences with an online element went up by 71%.

It sent requests to all 43 police forces in England and Wales, and the full responses from 25 forces showed that there were 5,015 offences of disability hate crime recorded by police in 2018/19 compared to 4,111 the previous year – a rise of 22%.

In 2017/18 the figures showed 1,805 of these offences had involved violence, rising by 41% to 2,538 in 2018/19.

Police-recorded disability hate crime (for 25 forces in England and Wales)

Twenty-three of the forces were able to provide data to show how many had involved an online element.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

There were 201 offences in 2017/18 compared to 344 in 2018/19, a rise of 71%.

Leonard Cheshire said that the number of cases that led to a charge, summons, or postal requisition, or were otherwise confirmed to have been sent to the crown prosecution service (CPS), had dropped.

In 2017/18 there were 330 of these cases, 8% of the total, but this dropped to 293 in 2018/19, 6% of the total.

In addition in 2017/18, 324 cases were dealt with out of court, for example with cautions, community resolutions or youth restorative orders.

There were 351 cases dealt with in these ways in 2018/19.

Leonard Cheshire said that disability hate crime figures from the CPS for 2017/18 suggested that the number of successful prosecutions had risen, but referrals from police had fallen.

The charity’s chief executive Neil Heslop said: “Hate crime against disabled people is significantly up with worrying increases in violent offences.

“Low prosecution levels are unacceptable and disabled people will feel a sense of injustice.

“Government and police forces must overcome barriers to successful case outcomes for survivors and perpetrators must be brought to account.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, said: “People should be able to live their lives and work free of harassment and fear.

“There can never be any excuse for hate crime, or serious threats of violence against people in any shape or form, and these will not be tolerated.

“Police-recorded hate crime has increased in recent years. This is in part due to improvements in police recording, as well as spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks of 2017.

“There is a responsibility on us all to think carefully and be temperate in how we communicate to each other.

“We will continue to work to bring offenders to justice and to protect our communities from abuse.

“I would encourage anyone who suffers hate crime, or receives a serious threat against them, to report it to the police, either by calling 101 (999 in an emergency) or online through our True Vision website at

“Police will take all reports of threats and abuse seriously, and will act based on the available evidence in their investigation.”

A home office spokesperson said: “We are committed to tackling hate crime in all of its forms – including abuse of disabled people.

“We welcome the fact that more victims are having the confidence to come forward and report this despicable abuse, and it’s vital that their cases are properly investigated.”

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us