Police are hoping their new campaign against disability hate will help raise awareness of the problem and encourage people to report it.
Yesterday Northumbria Police launched It’s Never Too Late... End Disability Hate at the Father James Walsh Centre in Hedgeley Road, Hebburn.
The day centre was already a place where people with disabilities to go but is now also a ‘Safe Reporting Centre’, where people who have experienced disability hate can go and let someone know what is happening to them.
It is one of 80 centres across the force area which will serve as a place for people to report incidents themselves, or where someone can do it on their behalf.
The centres will work alongside other existing reporting schemes such as ARCH and True Vision which give people the chance to report problems online and over the telephone.
Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman, said: “We recognise everyone’s right to live their life free from harassment and fear of crime.
“And we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable people in our society and tackling disability hate crime.
“We know that for many reasons people don’t always report incidents to the police.
“As part of our commitment, we need to ensure people with disabilities have increased support and opportunity to report incidents in a safe and secure environment either to the police or via a third party.
“This campaign will promote Safe Reporting Centres and greater awareness of hate crime, encouraging reporting in the knowledge that police are fully committed to stopping hate crime.”
The new campaign also aims to improve people’s understanding of what hate crime is and that it is everyone’s responsibility to report incidents – not just people with disabilities.
Police want to encourage relatives, friends and carers of people with disabilities to support and report any incidents.