POLICE and partners are joining forces to raise awareness of how seriously they take disability hate crime.
SafetyWorks, the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Nexus are working with Northumbria Police to get the message out that these crimes are not acceptable.
With children, the organisations will be educating them about the issue. There will be a particular emphasis on children with learning difficulties.
They will also be working with disabled adults and carers to raise awareness and explain the judicial process.
Inspector Denise Wouldhave said: “Tackling disability related hate crime is a priority for the force and this campaign aims to raise awareness of what disability hate crime is make sure that people do not feel they have to suffer in silence.
“We’re working with partner agencies and disability groups across the area to ensure we’ve got as many links as possible with the people who know exactly what the issues and concerns of disabled people are.
“One innovative piece of work involves looking at ‘safe places’ for disabled people where they would feel more confident in raising issues with police.
“Other innovations include moving towards a ‘Safeguarding Adults’ structure, similar to that we already have in place for children.
“This means when someone is identified as being vulnerable, a dedicated officer will be assigned to them and relevant agencies will be alerted to make sure the right support is available for them.
“Earlier this year the force also signed up to charity Mencap’s ‘Stand by Me’ pledge to tackle disability hate crime. The charity is working with the force to develop practical guidance to build on the work already taking place to support victims with a learning disability.”
Other organisations involved in the campaign include: Better Days and Your Voice Counts (advocacy groups), Mencap, CPS, Victim Support, Blissability, Sight Service, Road Safety, St John Ambulance, Crimestoppers and ARCH.
Police are urging anyone who feels they have been the victim of a disability hate crime, or have information about such a crime, to contact officers on 03456 043043.