Reports of online disability hate crime rise, study suggests

Online hate crime against disabled people has increased by a third in the past few years, a new study suggests.

Incidents picked up by the police may just be the tip of the iceberg, said the Leonard Cheshire charity.

The biggest increases in incidents between 2016/17 and 2017/18 were in counties such as Surrey, Norfolk and Suffolk, according to data from Freedom of Information requests.

The total increased from 236 to 313 over the period, said the charity.

Chief executive Neil Heslop said: “Police are increasingly recording online offences, but we know it remains an under-reported area and that disabled people may have reservations about speaking out.

“We suspect many crimes remain under the radar, with survivors never getting support and perpetrators facing no consequences.

“These offences can have a devastating impact on the lives of survivors. We know from our work with disabled people that hate crime causes long-term fear, anxiety and, in some cases, isolation.”

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