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Bias against people with disabilities and other groups

Prejudice against people with disabilities is a belief that people with physical or mental impairments are inferior. People with disabilities face significant physical and social barriers to full participation in society. Lack of access to public transport and other basic services are common experiences, as well as entrenched prejudices that affect chances for employment, friendships and a full family life. Hate crimes against people with disabilities are often characterized by low level crime committed by people known to the victim such as petty theft or damage to mobility aids, escalating to very serious attacks involving torture and even murder.

A limited but growing number of governments provide official data on hate crime against people with disabilities. NGOs also report information on incidents motivated by bias against people with disabilities, as well as against homeless people. There is a low awareness of disability hate crime, and knowledge about how to monitor incidents motivated by hostility against people with disabilities among civil society organizations and the general public. As a result the data in this section is sparse.



SELECT YEAR

Reports

Overview of incidents reported by civil society

Attacks Against People Attacks Against Property Total
Violent Attacks Threats
12 1 2 15

Finland

Official figures recorded 95 crimes based on bias against people with disabilities.

Germany

Official figures recorded 5 crimes based on bias against people with disabilities.

The coalition of civil society groups Hate Crime Counselling Project reported four incidents targeting people with disabilities, including physical assaults, harassment, threats and damage to property.

Greece

The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) reported two physical assaults on people with disabilities, both of which also had homophobic motivation.

Italy

Official figures recorded 141 crimes motivated by bias against people with disabilities.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The Macedonian Helsinki Committee and the OSCE Mission to Skopje reported an incident in which a man with a disability was assaulted and robbed.

Netherlands

Official figures recorded 61 crimes based on bias against people with disabilities. The figures include cases of hate speech and discrimination.

Norway

Stop Discrimination reported five physical assaults, including one committed by a group against a man with learning disabilities and one incident causing serious injuries to a man in a wheelchair; two incidents of vandalism, including one in which an assistance vehicle was damaged; and a robbery against a woman in a wheelchair.

Poland

The Never Again Association reported two physical assaults resulting in serious injuries.

Spain

Official figures recorded 226 hate crimes motivated by bias against disability.

Ukraine

Official figures recorded two crimes motivated by disablist bias.

United Kingdom

Official figures recorded 3,629 crimes based on bias against people with disabilities in England and Wales.

Tell MAMA reported one physical assault in which a young boy with disabilities was assaulted on a bus, and one threat against a Turkish man that involved both anti-disability and anti-Muslim verbal abuse.

United States of America

Official figures recorded 88 hate crimes against people with disabilities.


Developments

France

In its fifth report on France, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended amendments to the Criminal Code to include racist, homophobic and transphobic motivations as aggravating circumstances in criminal offences. ECRI also recommended that the authorities establish partnerships with civil society organizations working with Roma communities and people with disabilities to overcome under-reporting and to ensure that hate crime data-collection systems allow the disaggregation of data and the tracking of cases through the criminal justice system.

OSCE Region

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a number of resolutions on hate crime issues, including Resolution 2069 on recognizing and preventing neo-racism, which recommends that hate crime legislation include the protected characteristics of race, colour, ethnicity, language, religion, disability, migrant status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. PACE also recognized the issue of under-reporting by calling for more systematic reporting of hate crimes.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights' (FRA) report, "Equal protection for all victims of hate crime: the case of people with disabilities", calls for the introduction of enhanced penalties for disability hate crimes; a statutory duty on national authorities to collect and publish disaggregated hate crime data, supplemented by victimization surveys; the effective investigation and prosecution of hate crimes against people with disabilities; and the provision of accessible victim support services.