Disability-related harassment - FAQs

Many agencies have paid attention to the Commission's recommendations and taken positive steps to prevent and deal with disability-related harassment. A year one progress report was published in December 2013 which provided an early indication of progress. 

Disability-related harassment was the term used to describe the breadth of experiences by disabled people, their friends and family. Including, name calling, damage to property, threats of violence, rape and sexual violence and murder. Disability-related harassment encompasses disability hate crime, a term not always understood or used by all groups to describe their experiences. 

The first part of the inquiry, concluded in September 2011, highlighted systemic failures by organisations in preventing and responding to disability related harassment. It found that incidents were often dealt with in isolation; disability was often not considered as a possible motivation; barriers to reporting and recording were apparent across all sectors; with poor justice and redress for individuals and perpetrators facing few consequences. Out in the open: a manifesto for change summarises formal responses from relevant organisations and finalises these recommendations, following consultation with agencies, one year on.

Ownership of the recommendations will sit with the authorities they are directed at and many have set out how they are taking the recommendations forward. The Commission will ensure that consideration of the findings, and the recommendations from the inquiry inform our own work and where appropriate monitor the performance of organisations that have a specific responsibility to tackle disability-related harassment. The Commission will measure a key aspect of tackling disability related harassment, reporting, recording and recognition, in 2015 and 2017. The Commission will be looking for a reduction in the gap between incidence of disability related harassment and numbers that are reported, recorded and prosecuted.

The Commission's inquiry has kept the issue of disability related harassment and hate crime at the fore and on the agendas of public authorities and transport operators. It sets out a number of recommendations for action that, taken together, should work to prevent and eliminate disability related harassment. Significant progress has already been made, locally and nationally, with the Manifesto for Change and the formal responses providing information on this.

Disability-related harassment can be different from other types of hate crime. As described above, the term aims to cover the breadth of experiences, some of which may be unique to disability, not experienced by those with other protected characteristics. For example, damage to mobility aids or home adaptations.

Last updated: 14 Apr 2016