Crime, Disability, and Media



Many Disabled people are the victims of crime.

Disability hate crimes happen a lot more than people know.

This surprises people.


Some people think no-one would ever hurt a Disabled person.

They think no-one would commit a crime against a Disabled person.


Sadly, this is not true.

Disabled people are written about in the news.

The news can change how people think about other people.

So, it can change how people think about Disabled people.

Sometimes the news is negative about Disabled people.

This can cause problems.


When the news talked about Disabled people on benefits being ‘scroungers’, this caused problems.


Scrounger means someone who always gets things off other people and does not do anything to get them.

When the news uses this word, they usually mean someone who does not work.

They say they get “everything given to them for free”.

This is not a fair way to talk about people who get benefits.

Because the news talked about Disabled people on benefits in a negative way, people thought badly about Disabled people.

Everyone was having money problems and they were angry and worried about it.

When the news said Disabled people on benefits were scroungers, that made people angrier.

So they took out their anger on Disabled people. This was not fair either.

How the news talks about Disabled victims of crime

At Inclusion London, we looked at how the news talked about Disabled victims of crime.

We looked at news stories about 300 crimes against Disabled people.

We looked at the crimes and what happened.

We looked at whether any of them were called disability hate crimes.

We looked at how Disabled people were written about.

We found that news reports were getting better.

But Disabled people were still written about negatively.

Even in news stories written in 2022.

Here are some of the negative things we found written about Disabled people.


The Disabled person was blamed for the crime, even though they were the victim.

Disablist language, like “psycho” and “lunatic” and “crippled”.

Disablism is when people think Disabled people are not as good as non-Disabled people.

Disablist language is language that is very negative about Disabled people.

Some of it is very hurtful. Words like ‘retard’ or ‘spastic’ are examples of very hurtful disablist language.

Some disablist language is not as obvious. Like ‘wheelchair bound’. This makes it sound like a wheelchair is a terrible thing people are stuck in. Lots of wheelchair users do not like this word at all.

Here are some other things we found in news stories that were negative.


The story tried to make us feel sorry for the person who committed the crime instead of the victim.

Disabled people were written about like they were ‘burdens’ and were a problem.

Some news stories did not talk about the victim much at all! Even though they had been hurt or killed. They were left out of their own story.

We wrote a lot more about this in our report.

We suggest ways people can write about Disabled people that won’t be as harmful.


You can download and read our report below.


All links open in new windows.

Part 1 – Introduction



Part 2 – About the Crimes



Part 3 – About the Victims



Part 4 – How much news there was and what happened after the crime



Part 5 – Disability hate crime information



More reports are coming after we check they are as good as we want them to be.




Our Easy Read webpages are new. We are still testing them.

Some things will change as we make them better.