Disability Hate Incidents

A disability hate incident is defined as

"Any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's disability or perceived disability."

This means that a hate incident is when anyone feels they have been picked on or targeted because of their disability. The victim or the witnesses' perception is used to 'early-identify' if an incident is motivated by hostility towards the victim's disability.

Disability hate incidents also include the following:

  • Disability hate by association: sometimes you may experience disability hate incidents through your association with a disabled person, for example, as carers or family members.
  • Presumed disability: incidents where an offender has mistakenly believed that the victim is disabled.

Early-identification will ensure that the relevant agencies (such as police, local authority, schools, housing associations, residential care homes and the NHS) take into account the element of prejudice towards disabled people in their investigation.

Direct disability hate incidents

  • physical abuse – spitting, punching, kicking, slapping, pushing or behaviour which leads to physical injury
  • threats – Words of a threatening nature, for example “I’m going to beat you up” or “I’m going to get you and your family” etc
  • verbal abuse – name calling, swearing, abusive telephone calls etc.
  • sexual abuse – this can be abuse including degradation, rape, assault, etc
  • written/printed abuse – Letters by post, leaflets or posters using prejudiced language, abusive text messages etc. against disabled people
  • graffiti/ disability hate language or images –  written/drawn onto property
  • attacks on property/home – deliberate damage to your home or assistive equipment. Eggs/stones thrown at property, tyres slashed, windows broken, etc.
  • harassment –  persistent intimidating or threatening behaviour which is spread over a period of time

Who is a disabled person

Under the Equality Act 2010 a person has a disability if they have

  • A physical or mental impairment
  • The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

View guidance on the definition of disability on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website. Please note that these are the same as under Disability Discrimination Act.

The social model of disability distinguishes between 'impairment' (functional limitations of mind, body, or senses) and 'disability' (disadvantage or restrictions of activity placed by the society).  A key concept of the social model is that society disables people by the way things are arranged. Organise things differently, and they are suddenly enabled - though the impairment has not changed.  The social model regards disability as

‘The loss of or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the community on an equal level with others due to physical or social barriers.’

The above definition focuses on removing barriers that prevent disabled people's participation as citizens.

Disabled people include:

  • people with physical disabilities or who find it difficult to move around,
  • people with sensory disabilities or who can not hear or see, or who find it difficult to hear or see,
  • people with learning disabilities,
  • those with mental illness, and
  • people with Long term conditions.

In April 2005, the law was changed by section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Section 146 imposed a duty upon courts to increase the sentence for any offence (for example, assault or criminal damage) aggravated by hostility based on the victim’s disability or presumed disability.  For the purposes of Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, disability is defined as ‘any physical or mental impairment.’

How can I report a disability hate incident?

We take hate incidents against disabled people seriously and have developed a number of options to make it easier for you to report. If you have experienced or witnessed a disability hate incident, you can report it in a number of ways to the police or to the Partnership Community Safety Team (PCST).

There are also many offices, charities and organisations across the city where you can report these incidents to. You can view, save and print a list of these on our disability hate incident reporting centres page. This page includes drop in addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for the centres.

Reporting to the police

People with hearing or speech impairment can contact police via

  1. Emergency Text Services 65999, you will find further instruction on the use of Emergency Text Services.
  2. Typetalk Emergency Line 18000
  3. if it is not an emergency then you can use textphone on 18001 101.

Sussex Police regard a disability hate incident as a strategy incident - and treat it seriously and will respond as soon as possible.

If you need a sign or language interpreter, the police will be able to provide you with one.

True-Vision online reporting to the local police

You can report all incidents that are motivated by the prejudice of the offender, also known as hate incidents or crimes. For example, racist, religiously motivated, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, and disability hate incidents may be reported through these forms and the True-Vision online facility to the police. You can report all hate incidents or crimes that you may have been the victim of, witnessed, or are reporting on behalf of someone else through the True-Vision website.

  • Choose the local police force, for example, to report incidents in Brighton & Hove, please choose, Sussex Police from the drop down menu and then click on the Go To Form link below it.
  • you can give as much or as little personal details as you choose.
  • you can report anonymously, if you wish.

If you are reporting a crime that has been committed, the police will create a crime report and investigate the matter. If you have provided your contact details, the police will contact you according to your consent.

If you do not provide your personal details, the self-reporting forms will be used to monitor the incidents. Learn more about reporting hate incidents and crime through True-Vision.

True-Vision easy-read self-reporting forms for people with learning disabilities

Working with disabled people, their carers, and support organisation, an easy read form has been designed which people with learning disabilities can complete with assistance from their carers or staff.

  • The form has lots of pictures and you can draw to tell us more about what happened.
  • You can report all types of hate incidents through these forms.
  • The pack also gives you information about disability hate incidents and support available.

These self- reporting forms and easy read forms are available from the True-Vision website

You can also request copies from communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Reporting Centres

We want to make it easier for people in Brighton & Hove to report hate incidents.  You can also report disability hate incidents at a variety of locations in the city.

  • A number of organisations working with disabled people and support groups act as our reporting centres. It means that you are able to report incidents to them.

You can view, save and print the list of reporting centres on our disability hate incident reporting centres page.

Reporting to the Partnership Community Safety Team

  • call the duty line on 01273 292735 to speak to a community safety caseworker during office hours (on answer machine when the offices are closed and on Bank Holidays).
  • email the Community Safety Caseworkers directly at communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk This inbox is checked throughout the day and caseworkers receive a notification when a report of hate incident or anti-social behaviour has been received and person complaining receives an auto-response to their e-mail.
  • meet us by appointment at the
    Partnership Community Safety Team.
    3 Palace Place,
    Brighton. BN1 1EF
  • we can arrange to visit you at your home or meet you at other venues in the neighbourhood, if you prefer that.


Anti-social behaviour and hate incident report form

If you wish to report disability motivated incidents, please use the online anti-social behaviour and hate crime reporting form.

You can report all forms of hate incidents and anti-social behaviour through this form.

If you have any queries, please email: communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk

What if I need some support?

We provide support to people who have experienced hate incidents or crimes because of hostility based on their race, religions, and disability. Caseworkers will

  • arrange to meet you at your home, if you wish
  • provide language or sign interpreter, if you need one
  • listen to your needs and take your concerns seriously
  • undertake an initial risk assessment within one working day in line with the victim witness service standard
  • A single point of contact will be offered to you either from the Casework Team or from one of the partner agencies
  • if you choose to work with the caseworker, they will develop an action plan to resolve the complaint
  • with your consent, we will work with other agencies (police, housing officers, schools, etc) on the agreed actions to solve your complaint and take actions against the person who is causing the incidents, where possible
  • support you throughout the process
  • support you if you need to go to court
  • if you wish, work with your family members or carers, as appropriate
  • ask your feedback to improve our service
  • the case will be managed with the aim that the outcome will be both agreeable to the victim and realistic.

What is the PCST

The PCST is a partnership of the Brighton & Hove City Council with the Sussex Police, the Racial Harassment Forum, the Domestic Violence Forum, and the LGBT communities. The PCST is committed to involving disabled people, their carers and organisations working with disabled people in developing their priorities and services.

In practical terms it means that some members of the team are employed by the council and others are employed by the police, and together we work to reduce hate incidents and crimes.

The aims of the service include increasing reported incidents, ensuring victims and witnesses are fully supported and building their confidence in the criminal justice systems.

You can learn more about the PCST on Safe In The City website.  You will also be able to download the quarterly and annual report on levels and trends of disability hate incidents in the city.

Further development of reporting options

The reporting options will be developed with the involvement of disabled people, their carers, organisation supporting disabled people as well as other key partners.  They will be in different formats to suits your needs.

Other support services

If you wish to learn more about what other support is available please visit victim support. 

If you are to attend the court as a victim or a witness, witness service may arrange for you to visit the court before the trial, so you are familiar with the court.  They can also assist you in the court proceedings and arrange for special measures.

Disability support organisations

Disability advice centre: Brighton & Hove Disability Advice Centre is an independent service for anyone who requires information and advice about disability related matters. Please call them on (01273) 296747 or visit the Disability Advice Centre website to learn more about their services including drop in times.  The Community Safety Casework Team attend the Disability Advice Centre on a drop in basis.

The Fed Centre For Independent Living, a Brighton & Hove charity, led by disabled people offering advice and support to live independently can also offer further advice and support.

The Sussex Deaf Association provides spiritual and social welfare for deaf people in Sussex. They can be reached at  Tel: (01273) 671899 or visit the Sussex Deaf Association website to learn more about their services.   

Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. They work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. You can contact them on Tel: (01273) 666950. or visit Mind website to learn more about their services.

Visit the Brighton & Hove Learning Disability Partnership Board website.

Crown Prosecution Service Policy

For a comprehensive guide of the Crown Prosecution Service's policy and guidance for prosecuting cases of disability hate crime click on the highlighted item.

To find out more about your rights as a victim reporting a crime, please see information (leaflet, poster, video) explaining the new Victims Code. This Statutory Code tells you what you can expect from each criminal justice agency, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the courts. You can also download the full Code of Practice for Victims of Crime October 2013, the code has become effective from December 2013.