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Committing of Disability Hate Crime

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Committing of Disability Hate Crime essay
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Abstract

Shah (2015, pg 125), highlighted that disability hate crime is everyone’s business. She explains that we need to think about how some companies work in the context of ‘protection’ and the relationship between themselves to enable to recognise that ‘disability hate crime is everyone’s business’. To be able to do this we need to be open minded and have the ability to consider the issues outside their own comfort zones. Doing this may mean that the difference is between life and death, mental well-being and physical injury.

This poem below illustrates the web of ‘entanglement by ignorance’ that can mask our senses to see, hear, smell and touch the lives of others (ibid).

“Disability hate crime – where was the help?

They didn’t hear the pangs of pain from a broken soul where words unspoken are louder than thunder, where was the help?

They didn’t see the abuse that I lived again and again, in my sleep and wide awake, where was the help?

They didn’t touch me emotionally, when I needed to know they cared, that I mattered, where was the help?

My humanity left blackened, soiled and cracked from the charred wreckage of a life debased by prejudice and hate, where was the help?

My desperation, my fears, my misery received no comment, why did they not understand the urgency to make it stop?”

After reading this poem made me realise why I decided to do this research to find out why people target others with disabilities. I thought this would be good insight and a taster what I hope I have highlighted within the dissertation.

Acknowledgement

Would like to thank my supervisor Irene Zempi for her support through this dissertation project, with having her input has been really helpful with her wealth of knowledge in relation to hate crime and the best way to complete this.

I would like to that all who has been about for their total support through this last year with helping me through after the setbacks I have had over the early part of the academic year from illness and the death of my mother in December. If I did not have the knowledge that they gave me the extra support when I needed it then I think I would have decided to leave and resit next year, but I did not want to do that. It was all staff and some peers who has given me the encouragement to continue to carry on.

Introduction

Giannasi (2014, pg 109, 110) highlighted that ‘The Board accepted the need to set parameters but felt it would be wrong to deny the existence of other forms of hostility. As such it agreed that the shared definition should be of ‘Monitored Hate Crime’. The following definition was agreed by ACPO Cabinet in November 2007 and subsequently accepted by all other criminal justice agencies.’

Monitored Hate Crime Definition

Hate Motivation Hate crimes and incidents are taken to mean any crime or incident where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised.

Monitored Hate Crime

A hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race or; a person’s religion or perceived religion or; a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or; a person’s disability or perceived disability or; against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.

Monitored Hate Incident

Any non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race, or; a person’s religion or perceived religion or; a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or; a person’s disability or perceived disability or; against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender

Hate Crime Prosecution

A hate crime prosecution is any hate crime, which has been charged in the aggravated form or where the prosecutor has assessed that there is sufficient evidence of the hostility element to be put before the court when the offender is sentenced.

Disability Rights UK and Equality Act 2010 define a disabled person as: ‘a person with a disability. They go on to say that a person who has a disability for the purposes of the Act has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A disability can arise from a wide range of impairments which can be sensory, physical, mental or learning difficulties’.

Highlighted by Chakraborti and Garland (2015), disability hate crime comes in many forms. This can be murder, sexual violence and abuse to theft and fraud, domestic violence, property crime, verbal abuse and harassment. Staff team members, family members, and even assistance dogs can be targeted too, as well as their wheelchairs and other equipment. It takes place in many different settings, including in the home, on public transport and in public places as well as in the cyber world.

Under the Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 defines disability as meaning ‘any physical or mental impairment’. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reports that a physical impairment is a condition affecting the body, perhaps through sight or hearing loss, a mobility difficulty or a health condition. A mental impairment is a condition affecting ‘mental functioning’, for example a learning disability or mental health condition such as manic depression.

There are different types of disabilities that is not always obvious to others. Some different types include developmental impairments for example autistic spectrum disorders, sensory impairments for example those impairments affecting sight or hearing, learning disabilities, physical disabilities caused by injury, mental health conditions which includes anxiety, depression, , phobias, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder (manic depression) (ibid).

This research looks at the what is defined by disability hate crime, why people possibly commit hate crime against people with disabilities. Also, it is going to look at the theory why does disability hate crime occurs. The theory that I chose to look at this is going to be Merton’s (1968) strain theory where Merton argued that deviant behaviour results from a lack of stability in transporting or transferring from the gap between culturally prescribed goals and the means and opportunities of attaining these legitimately. Also, disability hate crime can come under the theory of social learning theory, was initially outlined by Akers (1977) after being most influential contemporary extension of Sutherland’s differential association theory, hopefully to create a comprehensive theory of criminal behaviour.

Akers stressed that criminal behaviour is learned in both social and non-social situations through combinations of clear instruction and observation. Strain theory is linked to social learning theory and differential theory because of how people learn morals, values, ways to commit crime and the ideas behind committing crimes against disabled people from peers, family members and others around them. This research project concerns itself primarily with the social learning theory by Akers.

Sherry (2000) asks why many disabled people are also victims of hate crimes. This is relevant to this research project because it shows there is an issue of hate crime towards those with a disability. Some factors which has been highlighted that it is the social, cultural, economic, physical and psychological factors contributes to this. This can be seen by the negative attitudes by others towards their disability, lack of support, advocacy, safeguards and the level of abuse in state institutions. The latter can be seen in the report from Community Care, ‘Winterbourne View ‘a case study in institutional abuse’’.

This dissertation is going to look at why people are likely to commit hate crime towards people with disabilities, whether it is the effects of peer pressure from friends and family members to commit hate crime and the effects on people with disabilities from the hate crime.

Methodology

The preferred methodology for this report is a literature review. A literature review is ‘a selection of documents which are published and unpublished on the topic of interest, which contains information, ideas, data and evidence written from a particular perspective to fulfil certain aims or express certain views on the nature of the topic and how it is to be investigated’. (Hart, 1998 pg 13). A good literature review expands on the reasons behind selecting a particular research question (Shuttleworth 2009).

There are many benefits with conducting a literature review as opposed to primary research, for example, this approach is useful in terms of replication as questions can be raised and new outcomes can be generated from examining pre-existing sources (Riedel, 2000). Some other benefits from doing a literature review provides an understanding of existing knowledge on a subject, including past projects or information. Someone has done the primary and secondary research and you can see what the results and conclusions they came up with. Some find that the information is fruitful and free to do.

Also, it clarified the need of doing the project. The drawbacks on doing literature views can be that the situation needs time and research skills in doing so and possibly people may think it is unnecessary in doing it. Sometimes, you find that the information is not what is needed, time consuming, and can be difficult to find the information in what is required.

In this instance, data has mainly been derived from academic texts, journals, organisational research reports like ‘Disability hostility, harassment and violence in the UK A ‘motiveless’ and ‘senseless’ crime?’ by Hamilton and Trevitt (2015), University of Leicester The Leicester Hate Crime Project Briefing Paper 1 Disabilist Hate Crime and work by MENCAP, CPS, College of Policing, Equality Act 2010, Equality Human Rights Commission, Disability Rights UK, The Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.146 and The Disability Discrimination Act 2005. These are only some included within the research of this dissertation.

Initially for this research was it was intentionally going to be primary research. After discussions with management, primary research would not have been appropriate for this paper. The reason for this would be near impossible to gain first-hand data due to the nature of the of the research and on an ethical side for the potential participants and for the researcher. Also, with the nature of the questioning and unwillingness to come forward to talk about what has happened to them, and, they been not wanting to bring up the torment they have received due to the sensitive issue such as disability hate crime. This would not be fair to the participants to bring up the past/present has they been victims of hate crime themselves of some kind.

Therefore, an extended literature review is the appropriate methodology for this dissertation. There is a good amount of research on hate crime and disability hate crime so, I am able to complete the research without struggling and I am interested in this topic due to I have worked with people with disabilities and seen how people have suffered from hate crime due to their disabilities.

References

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