Tragedies like that of Fiona Pilkington from Barwell in Leicestershire, who killed herself and her disabled daughter after suffering abuse, may be repeated because police are too embarrassed to ask victims of crime if they are disabled.
A report out today reviews how police officers deal with hate crime.
People with disabilities said that the police service had become "too sensitive about causing offence".
In addition, confusion over how to define disability hate crime means it is not as easily identified as racist or religiously-motivated attacks.
Ms Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick in 2007 following 10 years of sustained abuse.