On the periphery of hate crime: disability at the intersections of marginalisation, vulnerability and difference

Healy, Jane (2018) On the periphery of hate crime: disability at the intersections of marginalisation, vulnerability and difference. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This research explores the nature and impact of disability hate crime from the perspective of disabled people, victims and key informants from criminal justice and other agencies. The evidence base included two focus groups with disabled people, an online anonymous questionnaire with 83 disabled participants, narrative interviews with 12 victims of disability hate crimes and semi-structured interviews with 15 key informants. It draws on all forms of disability, impairment and conditions and contributes to the current research deficit in the field of disability hate crime. All of the participants spoke of a prevalence of targeted violence and harassment against disabled people that is cumulative and repetitive in nature. Victims reported a variety of abuse and hostility, from name-calling and verbal abuse to physical and sexual violence, harassment and damage to property. A significant minority reported experiencing a withdrawal of support or assistance from carers or family members, something which is unique to this strand of hate crime. The impact of this victimisation on disabled communities is both emotional and practical, and can include utilising avoidance or acceptance strategies that restrict living and working conditions for disabled people, thereby contributing to their isolation and Othering. Some participants reported suicidal ideation; others were resilient and described their experiences as normative. Victims recount inadequate, offensive and inappropriate responses from the criminal justice system generally, and a consequential lack of confidence in them as a result. Government policy on benefit claimants and concurrent negative media coverage of disabled people were factors in victims’ experiences of hate crimes, with participants advocating that recent cultural and social changes in how disabled people are perceived and framed have directly led to an increase in incidents and crimes. The research demonstrates how domination and subordination of a marginalised group in society has led to resignation and acceptance by them of disability hate crime as part of life. It makes recommendations to address this by establishing dedicated hate crime units within police forces, embedding hate crime awareness and training within safeguarding practices and improving third party reporting facilities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 25907
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 12:23
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2019 22:13
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25907

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