Disability hate crime / mate crime

A disabled person is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This includes people with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

A disability hate crime is defined as:

"Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability."

Incidents can take many forms and include:

  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Teasing
  • Bullying
  • Threatening behaviour
  • Online abuse
  • Threatening or insulting text messages
  • Damage to property.

It may just be a one-off incident or an ongoing campaign of harassment and/or intimidation.

Hate incidents are not only carried out by strangers, but can, in some cases, be inflicted by a carer, neighbour, teacher or someone you consider a friend.

'Mate crime' is a form of disability hate crime and the term is used to describe a false relationship, whereby someone befriends a vulnerable person and then uses that friendship to manipulate or bully them. It takes many forms, including verbal, physical or sexual abuse, theft, manipulation or online bullying.

Advice and support