Stop Learning Disability Hate Crime in Harlow campaign launched

STOP Hate UK is pleased to announce the recent launch of Stop Learning Disability Hate Crime helpline service across the Essex area. The service has been funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex until November 2016.

Commenting on the launch of service, Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:

“The helpline offers direct support and signposting for victims of hate crime as a result of their learning disability. These victims are often very vulnerable members of society that suffer from verbal and physical attacks, ‘Mate Crime’ and other types of abuse but do not know how to access support, and sometimes don’t realise they have been victims of crime. This is an important initiative which I am delighted to support.”

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive for Stop Hate UK, said:

“Our existing helplines have received increasing numbers of callers over the past few years and we are pleased to have provided support to so many people who have suffered as victims of Hate Crime because of some aspect of their identity. We believe that this tailored service for people with learning disabilities in Essex, offers a varied range of reporting methods and hope it will empower and facilitate more people to step forward to seek support.”

The Learning Disabled community represents a group of people that face a particularly large number of barriers to reporting Hate Crime, and can require a very different level of support once these barriers have been overcome. Examples of Barriers include fear of not being believed; because they have become normalised to incidents; because they may be unable to report in a way that is accessible and understandable to them. Some people may also not recognise that what has happened to them can be reported as a Hate Incident.

The concept of Mate Crime or ‘false befriending’, in which people with Learning Disabilities are exploited through false friendship, is a prime example of how the Stop Learning Disability Hate Crime helpline can, by starting to dismantle these barriers, increase reporting and provide better support to victims.

According to research by the disability charity Mencap, 9 out of 10 people with a Learning Disability have been a victim of a Hate Crime. The StopHate UK helpline will help to tackle many of these barriers by providing a service that focuses on individuals – valuing their experiences and giving them the time and space to talk openly about their victimisation.

The Stop Learning Disability Hate Crime service was launched on 1 October 2015, ahead of the National Hate Crime Awareness Week. The service will provide telephone and advocacy based information, advice and support to anyone affected by learning disability Hate Crime in full confidentiality. The service will also provide referrals to the Police and other services with the consent of the victim.

Service users can contact the Stop Learning Disability Hate Crime helpline on 0808 802 1155. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The helpline is free to call from landlines and all mobiles phone providers. Callers can also report hate crimes incidents by SMS text messaging, text relay, online web chat, online forms, via post and our reporting email 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

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