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Hate Crimes Against Those With Disabilities Decline

Posted by ROLAND REZNIK on December 08, 2016. 0 Comments

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program revealed that crimes against the disabled have dropped compared to the previous year. The FBI uses a system that tracks crimes related to disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and gender. According to the FBI, currently, 1.2 percent of hate crimes targeted people with disabilities.

Advocates for the disabled community find the percentage surprisingly low. Daily reports on local news programs throughout the United States make it seem like the percentage should be higher. A large part of the reason the percentage is low could be due to lack of reporting the hate crime. Hate crimes often never get reported for a variety of reasons. Victims of hate crimes are afraid of retaliation or feel ashamed.

Some hate crimes against people with disabilities don’t get reported due to dependency on a third party or caregiver neglecting to report the incident. Victims and caregivers that do report the incident often forget to mention the victim has a disability.

Advocates are working hard to inform the disabled community to properly report the crime to authorities. Victims and caregivers should make it a priority to report any incident that is considered a hate crime. Providing detailed information to authorities will help the FBI expose a growing problem within the United States.

An issue that gets overlooked is the label of “abuse” and “hate crime.” Disabled victims of hate crimes that report the incident often feel abused. Authorities creating the report will often find the word “abuse” more suited to the incident, even if the person was an obvious victim of a hate crime. Determining whether it is abuse or a hate crime is difficult but necessary for proper reporting.

The disabled community needs to work together and inform each other of proper protocol for crime reporting. It is essential for the victim or the caregiver to clearly provide all details and state whether it was abuse or a hate crime.

In 1999, a well-known hate crime against a disabled man, Eric Krochmaluk was documented in Middletown, N.J. He was kidnapped burned with cigarettes, beaten, choked, taped to a chair and abandoned in a forest. This case became one of the first prosecutions of a disability-based hate crime in the United States. The judge indicted eight people for this hate crime.

The disabled community needs to know they are covered under the federal hate crimes statute that allows them full protection of the law to those targeted for having a disability. Proper reporting of hate crimes against disabled people will make sure justice prevails.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act (LLEHCPA) provides details regarding existing federal criminal civil rights protections. Advocates for the disabled community are determined to make sure the LLEHCPA continues to include disability-based hate crimes.

Currently, the FBI is reporting a decline in hate crimes against those with disabilities. This is good news if the reports are accurate. People within the disabled community have to continue to do their part by properly reporting crimes to assure the FBI has valid information.

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