'This is just what happens to us': Violent disability hate crime doubles in a year

Emma Dobson is a wheelchair user from Birmingham - she's 24 and speaks about a traumatic experience she faced when being verbally abused just for being a wheelchair user.

It happened two years ago when she was using public transport.

Emma was abused by a mum with a pram who refused to make space for her and was sitting in a priority seat on a bus.

She says the abuse ‘sticks with you', plenty of people in her friendship circle have experienced online abuse 'which has been pretty horrendous'. 

It comes as 95% of all disability hate crimes reported in the West Midlands last year were classed as 'violent' by the police. 

The number of incidents have risen by 106% on those reported in 2019-2020.


Incidents of hate crimes committed online against disabled people have also risen.

The huge spike in abuse coincides with national and regional lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even during this period when much of the population was forced to stay at home, in-person hate crime continued to plague many disabled people's lives.

Over 9,200 individual cases of disability hate crimes were reported to police across England and Wales in 2020/21, equating to around 25 disability hate crimes a day.

Worryingly, almost half of those hate-crimes committed against disabled people were ‘violent’ - including assault and crimes involving weapons. 

Only 1% of cases were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or charged. Repeat offender rates for disability hate crime are up by 89% on the previous years.