DISABILITIES: Get tough on hate crime

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Learning disability hate crime, online and offline, is an important issue not often talked about.

For too long, myself and other people with learning disabilities have been excluded from digital spaces out of fear of abuse. We have a right to feel safe online. What needs to change is the behaviour of the abusers, not the victims.

Online disability hate crime should have tougher laws. Abusers should be prosecuted, and their profiles taken down. Social media companies should make their safety procedures easier to understand.

Through #ImWithSam, we’ve been campaigning to raise awareness of this among policy makers, the public and among people with learning disabilities so they recognise when a crime is happening and what they can do.

The report by the Petitions Committee, which followed Katie Price’s petition to make online abuse illegal, alongside the Law Commission review into hate crime, are steps in the right direction.

Things need to change and I hope the Government takes the problem seriously so that people with learning disabilities can express themselves online, free from fear.

Mark Brookes

Campaigns Adviser, Dimensions