FBI Reports a Surge in Disability-Related Hate Crimes
An FBI report released Tuesday showed hate crimes against people with disabilities more than doubled compared to previous year’s numbers. There were 160 crimes in 2017, the most recent data available, compared to 77 in 2016.
Hate crimes related to disability made up 1.9 percent of all hate crimes reported, including those against race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. A total of 7,175 crime reports were filed, up from 6,121 in 2016. It’s important to note these were the only hate crimes reported.
Hate crimes could be anything including intimidation, assault, rape and murder. The majority of hate crimes were intimidation followed by simple assault, a misdemeanor that includes attempts to seriously harm someone.
Of the disability-related hate crimes reported, the majority of those (123) were against people with “mental disabilities.” The other 37 crimes were related to a physical disability.
According to the FBI’s office of uniform crime reporting, more law enforcement agencies reported hate crime data in 2017 than in 2016, with more than 1,000 additional agencies reporting. This increase could account for at least a portion of the uptick in hate crimes.
If you experience a hate crime, the Human Rights Campaign suggests you write down anything you can remember as soon as possible after the incident. Include identifying features of the person as well as any comments made, especially about your disability. Then, file a police report and urge the police officer to check the “hate crime” box on the report. Hate crimes have a statute of limitations of seven years, unless someone was killed.
If you’ve experienced a hate crime in the past, there are resources that can help you, including the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. The VictimConnect Resource Center, 1-855-484-2846, can also help you find services.
Photo via Getty Images/BrianAJackson