Still Getting Away with Murder: Disability Hate Crime in England

Inclusion London’s report

Icon of a hand making a 'stop' gesture

This report was commissioned by Inclusion London and written by Dr Laura Chapman. It is a follow up to the 2008 report, ‘Getting Away with Murder’, which was written by Katharine Quarmby, produced in collaboration with Disability Now, the UK Disabled People’s Council and Scope and published by Scope. Both reports focus on Hate Crime against Disabled people and have been produced by Disabled people. The new report revisits the observations and key findings made in 2008 and looks at what has happened since.  

The aim of this new report is to move away from ‘sound bites’ and simplistic explanations for why Disability Hate Crime happens. There are six key findings from the report that we encourage professionals, Disabled people, academics and the public to think about when attempting to understand the complex reasons why these crimes happen, and for professionals to use them when developing polices and practice.

Many institutional and attitudinal barriers that Disabled people face when accessing support can be overcome by working with DDPOs and Disabled people using a human rights approach when developing strategic policy and practice.

The six key findings of the report are:

  1. Disabled people are still overwhelmingly likely to be victims of crime
  2. Disabled people are still seen as unreliable witnesses 
  3. Using a Human Rights based approach is aiding increased understanding of Disabled people’s experience 
  4. Institutional Disablism creates space for hate crime 
  5. Disablism has the same characteristics as other ‘isms’ & more work is needed to improve understanding 
  6. Coproduction with Disabled people works

John Pring at Disability News Service has written this article about the report, which provides an excellent summary of key points raised in the report.

Inclusion London will be launching ‘Still Getting Away with Murder: Disability Hate Crime in England’ during National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2020 (10 – 17 October 2020). 

“[The report is] a reflection on a journey. It’s a tale of a complex area, full of contradiction, convoluted ideas; a difficult path towards greater justice for us all. At every moment I tried to serve the most hard-pressed of victims, answering the question: what would they want people to know in order to do the least harm? Reading this will have made a difference if professionals change their ways of working to make justice more achievable, because this crime will not stop in our lifetime. More needs to be done to build a fluency around culture and society, an understanding of disablism and ableism and of practice and policy, in line with the principle of ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’.” Dr Laura Chapman, Author, ‘Still Getting Away with Murder’.

“We need a national approach that does not depend on individual Deaf and Disabled people to motivate such work, or individual police officers. Also a law that ensures all hate crime is treated the same. Until we get this we hold the history of the experiences, the ones murdered, tortured, abused, attacked and harassed because of who they are. 

We are the activists who will never accept that a society in the millennium cannot ensure all who experience hate crime can access support, equal justice and professionals who are trained, by us, and know what they should do and do it.” Anne Novis MBE, Disabled Activist & Chair of Inclusion London.

“We work to make sure that Disabled people are consulted as experts with lived experience that improve the experience of Disabled survivors of hate crime and no Disabled person has to suffer alone. There is still a long way to go: Inclusion London is committed to continuing advocating for more resources to be allocated to Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations so they can provide holistic services that include support to recognise, report and recover from hate crime.” Louise Holden, Hate Crime Partnership Project Manager, Inclusion London.

Inclusion London wants to thank the Crown Prosecution Service, Metropolitan Police Service and Dr David Wilkins for their input. We also thank Anne Novis MBE for her introductory remarks and tireless support.

You can download the full report here: ‘Still Getting Away with Murder: Disability Hate Crime in England

You can download the Easy Read executive summary below:

Still Getting Away with Murder: Disability Hate Crime in England – Easy Read (pdf)

Still Getting Away with Murder: Disability Hate Crime in England – Easy Read (word)