Tackling hate crime through art

Carlisle Mencap members creating their artwork Credit: ITV Border

People with learning disabilities in Carlisle say hate crime is stopping them living fully independent lives.

And according to Staff at Carlisle Mencap, everyone they work with has been bullied because of their disability at some point.

They've been creating artwork to tell people it's a crime and to try to encourage people to be more inclusive as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week.

"Lots of clients actually don't understand what it means, they just think that people are being horrible and they don't understand it and they don't report it. Often that's why they don't go out on their own because they're frightened to."

Sheila Gregory, Carlisle Mencap

"When I was at school they called me "thick", "you can't write, haha", and then at school I got laughed at and at youth club because I got more bullied and it worried me and panicked me a bit."

Amber Bloxham from Carlisle

Staff at Carlisle Mencap say it's important to educate children at a young age that saying hurtful things about someone because of their disability, religion or race is a crime.

But they also say it's become a problem throughout society, as it's not just children abusing people in public.

"I think children sometimes are not that aware of the effects later on in life of the way they treat people when they're younger. We'll have people maybe 19/20-years old who still have serious issues and long lasting effects of how they were treated when they were a young child."

Daniel Campbell, Carlisle Mencap

A Home Office survey estimates there could be 70,000 disability-motivated hate crimes in the UK every year and that leads Police to believe people with learning disabilities are frequently targeted.

"The problem for us is the under-reporting of hate crime because we know it's chronically under-reported. There's an acceptance, which we need to get that message across that it's not acceptable, and we need to know about it. With disability hate crime people fear a loss of independence, so they worry that if they say they're having any issues that they may lose some of their independence."

PC Julie Dodd, Diverse Communities Engagement Officer for Cumbria Police