Learning Disabilities Task Force calls for action on hate crime

Government advisers have called on ministers to take urgent action on hate crime against people with learning disabilities in the wake of several recent cases.

In its fourth annual report, the Learning Disability Task Force said hate crime against the group was a growing problem but that victims were often not taken seriously by care staff or people working in the criminal justice system.

Joint chair and national co-director for learning disabilities Nicola Smith said violence against people with learning disabilities was often not treated as a hate crime and that many incidents went unreported.

The task force called on the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service to ensure local community safety strategies include proposals to tackle the issue, consider better training for criminal justice system staff working with people with learning disabilities and ensure information is collected on hate crimes against the group.

Last month, Brent Martin , a 23-year-old with learning disabilities from Sunderland, was murdered by a gang in an alleged hate crime. Three people have been charged.

And last July, Steven Hoskin, who had learning disabilities, was killed by three people who had moved into his flat in St Austell, Cornwall.

A Community Care survey, to launch our A Life Like Any Other campaign in May, found that 16% of people with learning disabilities had been bullied in the street in the past year.

The task force, whose role is to monitor the implementation of the 2001 Valuing People white paper, also called for improved access to healthcare and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

The government is due to publish a “refresh” of Valuing People this autumn, after admitting its implementation had “stalled”. Community Care understands that the refresh document will tackle the issues raised in the task force report.

Further information
Task force report 
Community Care campaign

Related article
Inspector blog: Beating the bullies who target people with learning disabilities

Contact the author
Caroline Lovell

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