Fear of hostility keeps many disabled people from going out, poll reveals

Three in 10 disabled adults reported that they had experienced hostile behaviour motivated by their disability.
Three in 10 disabled adults reported that they had experienced hostile behaviour motivated by their disability.

Fear of hostility has stopped nearly one in three disabled people from going out in their local area, according to new research.

A poll of 1,609 disabled adults in the UK found three in ten (30%) reported that they had experienced hostile behaviour motivated by their disability.

And roughly the same proportion (31%) said concern about hostile behaviour, such as being subjected to verbal abuse, had prevented them going out in their local area.

Reported hostile behaviour is most likely to be in person, the research indicates, but 7% of respondents said they had experienced it either online or via a messaging app.

The findings, published by the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, are released ahead of the publication of official hate crime statistics on Tuesday.

Almost three in four (73%) disabled people who were victims of crimes motivated by their impairment said they reported the offence to police - but more than a quarter (27%) did not, according to the survey.

Leonard Cheshire Disability chief executive Neil Heslop said: "Hate crime can be totally devastating for disabled people and rob them of their confidence.

"Some survivors have been left so traumatised they remain trapped in their homes out of fear.

"Shocking though the police figures are, large numbers of hate crime incidents against disabled people go unreported simply because victims don't know how to report these crimes.

"In some instances, disabled people may think that no one will even listen.

"As well as greater awareness of disability hate crime and its impact - we need more services that support victims to recover from their ordeals."

Home Office figures show that police in England and Wales recorded 3,629 disability hate crimes in 2015/16, an increase of 44% on the number registered in the previous year.