U.K. Releases Card to Protect Autistic People Against Hate Crimes
The U.K. is making an effort to protect autistic people from hate crimes.
The Bedfordshire Police teamed up with a disability advocacy group called Pohwer to release “hate crime cards” to 1) make it easier for people with autism to report hate crimes and 2) serve to recognize the social and communication difficulties associated with autism and the importance of improving communication between the autism community and police officers, according to a press release.
Autistic people designed the cards, which began rolling out across the U.K. on Friday as part of Bedfordshire’s Hate Crime Week of Action.
People with disabilities are victimized at much higher rates than the rest of the population, according to Victimsofcrime.org. A hate crime, however, is defined as a crime where the motivation is the offender’s bias against victims of a particular group.
Between 2004 and 2012, victims in the U.S. identified disability as the perceived offender motivation in hate crimes 11 percent of the time, down from 22 percent in 2011.
In the U.K., a person with autism can now show the “hate crime card” to the demonstrate he or she needs help either reporting a crime or communicating. It’s the size of a credit card and contains contact information for the police department.
“We continue to seek ways to deliver services to our communities with diverse needs. It is important that vulnerable people in our county know about hate crime and that being targeted is wrong,” Bedforshire Chief Inspector Gayner Coulson said in the press release. “Hate crime remains underreported and we are working hard with partners to tackle prejudice and crime against someone with a disability in our county.”