Crimes against the disabled 'ignored by police and courts'
leaving them living in fear of harassment
By Steve Doughty Daily Mail - UK, 12th September 2011
Thugs who attack and intimidate the disabled hardly ever face punishment, an inquiry has found.
Instead it is the victims who are more likely to be asked to change their lives to stay away from tormentors, it said.
The report blamed a series of institutions for failing to do anything about victimisation of the disabled, including police and the courts, housing associations, local authorities, social workers, and schools.
Fiona Pilkington: Killed herself and her daughter after suffering a decade of abuse ignored by police.
It said: 'Hundreds of thousands of disabled people regularly experience harassment or abuse but a culture of disbelief is preventing public authorities from tackling it effectively.'
The Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry (LINK)
follows the case of Fiona Pilkington, the mother who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, in 2007 following a decade of abuse which was repeatedly dismissed by police.
Researchers looked at ten other cases, nine of which ended in a death. They said: 'Perpetrators rarely face any consequences for their actions, while their victims continue to live in fear of harassment.
There is often a focus on the victim, questioning their behaviour and vulnerability, rather than dealing with the perpetrators.'
It said 1.9million disabled people were victims of crime last year and they were more likely to be targeted by criminals than others.
Tormented to death: Greater Manchester Police were criticised over the death of 64-yearold David Askew (left), who was bullied by yobs for more than a decade. Francecca Hardwick, 18, was killed by her mother after police similarly failed to act But police and public sector managers failed to notice what was going on, researchers said.
The report also called on courts to ensure that those convicted of assaults, theft or harassment of the disabled face 'appropriate sanctions'.
The researchers cited the case of David Askew, a 64-year-old with learning disabilities who died of a heart attack in his garden last year, shortly after a gang had thrown his wheelie bin around and tampered with his mother's mobility scooter.
Mr Askew was targeted by 26 different people over 12 years, but the response by Manchester police was often slow and his family's housing association put pressure on the Askews to move.
After Mr Askew's death one man was prosecuted and sentenced to16 weeks in prison. However he was released immediately because he had been on remand before his trial.
EHRC commissioner Mike Smith said the police only recorded 1,567 cases of disability hate crime last year.
He said it was probably 'a drop in the ocean' compared with the high proportion of people reporting disability-related harassment.
LISA Comment: With life getting boring for many, tormenting the vulnerable becomes just something to do. There have been times when we have needed to discourage regular primary school kids from tormenting vulnerable people on railway stations. Perhaps there is need to encourage regular schools to educate their students on this subject.
Extra 1: The present system of service provision is, captive market, restrictive practice and charity handout. Under NDIS it is intended to be, market place, consumer choice and rights based, to ensure "Freedom of Choice" and "Real Outcomes". We question these will occur for those with high support needs and challenging behaviour. The Productivity Commission hint at this on page 471 of their final report.
The Productivity Commission, on page 8 of their final report, recognises a relevant statement in LISA's submission 1023 - "Those still having to fight for reasonable care and respect, have little hope of departing this world in peace their adult family member will receive consistent quality of life care".