Go back a step

Contact CEO talks to BBC about 149% rise in reported hate crimes against children

Monday 16th October 2017

Contact CEO and Disabled Children's Partnership Chair Amanda Batten yesterday appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates to discuss the alarming rise in reported disability hate crime against children aged 16 and under.

A freedom of information request by the BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates team has revealed a 149% increase in this type of crime being reported to police.

This finding is echoed by the Disabled Children's Partnership, which found that:

  • 79 per cent of parents of a disabled child have had offensive comments toward them and their child on either social media or to their face.
  • 57 per cent of parents of disabled children have had offensive comments toward them and their child, in a public setting.

not much has changed

Ramya is mother to 10-year-old Rishi who has autism and a related learning disability. Ramya is a stay at home Mum, who gave up a successful banking career, and volunteers for the Swindon Parents and Carers.

Ramya says: "From our experiences public attitudes towards individuals who are differently abled are still extremely negative and not much has changed since Rishi was born.

"When he behaves in a way other people don't understand, I end up explaining his condition and apologising for him and I feel I shouldn't have to.

"I was once asked that I keep Rishi in the garden instead of taking him along into their house, because of his behaviour, a behaviour which is a result of his Autism, something he can't control.

"We feel extremely isolated and outcast from society because I feel they don't understand or want to understand my son and his and our challenges, and that makes people act awkwardly and drift away from us."    

lack of understanding

Amanda Batten commented: "The idea that so many parents and children with a disability are facing such a lack of support and outright abuse from our society is truly heart breaking.

"I think we really need to ask ourselves some serious questions as a society on how this has become acceptable and is on the rise at such an astonishingly fast pace.

"It highlights a major problem that we believe is driven by a lack of understanding of the challenges, but also joys, people living with and caring for those with disabilities face on a day to day basis.

"This is one of the key reasons we formed the Disabled Children's Partnership, a coalition of more than 50 charities, banding together to affect change and make a lasting difference to the way disabled children are treated in society."

tackling stigma together

Contact strives to present a positive image of disabled children and their families, and we promote media stories that challenge outdated stereotypes.

We want to see:

  • Better reporting of disability-related harassment and bullying.
  • Equality training for all people working in a public facing role.
  • A stronger focus on disability awareness in schools and early years.
  • More positive media stories about disabled children and their families.

Disability hate crime is one end of the spectrum of the abuse that we hear about. We have advice from experts on what you can do if your child is being bullied at school because they are disabled or have additional needs.