Sick trolls mock people with learning disabilities on Milton Keynes charity's social media pages
The city's MK SNAP charity has expressed outrage and horror at online abuse towards people with learning difficulties.
The charity has worked for years to transform the lives of of adults with special needs, offering professional support, training,education, life skills, work and opportunities for individuals aged 18 and over.
It has always been a 'favourite' Milton Keynes charity and has enjoyed excellent public support.
But recently, for no apparent reason, online trolls launched a hateful attack that has caused shock and misery.
The posts not only contained abuse and hatred, and encouraged other social media users to mock people with disabilities, says the charity.
The content of some of the sick posts is now the subject of a police investigation but the damage has already been done to the SNAP learners, who include people with learning difficulties, people on the autistic spectrum, adults recovering from stroke or head injury and people with visual or mobility impairment.
“It’s been truly shocking to see the impact that hate speech can have on vulnerable people and my caring team,” said MK SNAP's chief executive Angela Novell.
The charity has fought back, however, with a statement on disability hate crime - and this has triggered "overwhelming" support from the public.
The statement reads: "MK SNAP is committed to fighting hate and discrimination in all forms and does not tolerate hate speech or discrimination in any way towards the people and families we support. We are saddened to say that the charity has recently been targeted by individuals wishing to spread hate on-line via our social media accounts; encouraging social media users to mock people with disabilities. This has been the subject of a police investigation into potential criminal behaviour.
"The charity is proud to support a diverse community of people with a range of disabilities and two of our key values are respect and inclusion. These values are reflected in our work which encourages multi-faith, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural respect and mutual acceptance of people from all backgrounds."
Since releasing the statement, MK SNAP has joined forces with MK Council and leading local charities and organisations across the city, such as Camphill Communities MK, to fight hate crime and to educate people about learning disabilities.
Angela said: “We acknowledge that this issue is not exclusive to one specific community, and that, as online hate speech affects our entire community, it is as a community that we will work together to face it."
You can read more about MK SNAP, including ways in which you can support them, on the charity's website here.