Henry Smith MP says 'I'm With Sam'

Henry Smith MP hosted the launch of Dimensions UK’s campaign to end learning disability hate crime in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 11th October, as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The Crawley MP met with figures from a number of leading learning disability charities to hear about the impact of hate crime on the everyday lives of the people they support, and opened the event with a speech.

Henry Smith MP said:

“It’s abhorrent that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are still being frequently abused, even in this day and age.

“Hate crime of any kind is not acceptable. Learning disability and autism hate crime can have a devastating impact on victims and their families yet is appallingly still all too commons with a recent survey suggesting that three quarters had been subject to it.

“I’m very pleased to support Dimensions UK’s eight point plan to end learning disability hate crime.

“This is an issue that’s important to me, and I’m pleased to work as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dyslexia & Other Specific Learning Difficulties.”

Learning disability hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived, either by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability. Compared with other forms of hate crime, learning disability hate crime is underreported as victims are not aware of how or to whom they should report such incidents.

Dimensions UK has this week published new survey data on the experience of learning disability hate crime, which highlights the levels of prevalence of hate crime targeting people with a learning disability or autism. The victims of hate crime are frequently left feeling vulnerable, powerless, depressed and less comfortable leaving the house.

The campaign is bringing together a range of partners, speaking with a single voice and advocating an eight point blueprint for change which includes the separation of disability hate statistics compiled by the police and others into learning disability or autism categories amongst other disabilities, a change in the law to make disability hate online a crime in its own right, and steps to make it easier for people with learning disabilities to report hate crime.