Don't Hate Us! Tonight, ITV1 at 7:30pm

Despite thousands of hate crimes last year, only 500 resulted in a conviction. Credit: Tonight

Although there were an estimated 65,000 disability hate crimes last year only 2,000 were reported – and just over 500 resulted in a conviction.

And recent reports show that attitudes towards the disabled have worsened over the last year.

Francesca Martinez, who has Cerebral Palsy but prefers the term “wobbly”, is an actress and comedienne.

As a disabled person she has experienced negative attitudes and tonight she investigates the reasons behind the apparent increase in resentment towards some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Francesca travels to the North East to meet Peter Greener and his family. Peter was subjected to a three-month campaign of abuse after a neighbour suspected he was faking his symptoms of disability to claim benefits.

Peter Greener used CCTV to capture his neighbour's abuse campaign. Credit: Tonight

With the support of his family and the police Peter set up a CCTV camera and captured footage of his neighbour painting abuse on his fence and throwing stones at his house which enabled him to secure a conviction for harassment and criminal damage.

Francesca also meets journalist and expert in the field of disability hate crime, Katharine Quarmby. She is concerned that reporting of disability fraudsters combined with the government’s "anti-scrounger" rhetoric is fuelling resentment to the genuinely disabled.

Journalist Katharine Quarmby said some media coverage has hindered disability awareness. Credit: Tonight

Francesca also travels to Rugby to meet Sue Prince and Nikki Reid. Sue’s daughter Gemma Hayter was 27 and had learning difficulties when she was murdered in 2010 by a group of five of her so-called friends.

Adults with learning difficulties like Gemma Hayter are vulnerable to being abused by those they trust – something now known as mate crime.

Don’t Hate Us! Tonight will be broadcast today on ITV1 at 7:30pm.

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