Police are running a month-long campaign to raise awareness about disability hate crime.
Throughout October Thames Valley Police want to encourage victims, friends, family and support workers to report any incident where they believe they, or another person, is being targeted because of their disability.
Inspector James Willis, the force’s head of diversity said: “Last year, just 106 disability hate crime incidents were reported to Thames Valley Police. While low crime figures may be seen as encouraging, in reality we think there are disability hate incidents and crimes which are going unreported.
“This could be due to fear of repercussions after speaking to the police, not realising that what is happening to them is a crime in the first place or victims could believe nothing will be done to support them. Most astonishingly of all, I am aware that some people genuinely believe that being targeted because of their disability is just a way of life for them.
“This is absolutely not the case and I want to encourage people to report any incident where they have been targeted and they believe it is because they have a disability.”
He added: “Thames Valley Police will not tolerate any hate crime or incident and police are able to intervene in these incidents but it is important that the incidents are reported in the first place.
“I want to encourage anyone who may be suffering as a victim or who may be witnessing this type of crime to please report it to police as soon as possible by calling 101.”
If you are victim of or witness to disability hate crime, and feel unable to report the crime to police for any reason, you can also contact independent charities such as Stop Hate UK and True Vision.
For more information about disability hate crime, how to spot the signs that someone may be a victim, how to report disability hate crime, and how to obtain support for victims and witnesses, visit www.thamesvalley.police.uk/aboutus/aboutus-ead/aboutus-ead-hate-crime/aboutus-ead-disability-hate-crime.htm