Exploring Disability Hate Crimes

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Mark Sherry


hate crimes, abuse and disabilities, violence and disability


This paper identifies some of the characteristics of disability hate crimes and explains the difference between a “hate crime” and other sorts of crimes. Hate crimes are best understood as crimes with two victims (both individuals and communities) and as two crimes in one act. The high level of violence associated with hate crimes are noted, and the evidence necessary to demonstrate “hate” exists is also discussed. The differences between hate speech and hate crimes are outlined. The paper discusses the rapid growth in recent years of anti-disability websites on the Internet. It suggests that the use of the Internet to promote hatred of disabled people is a serious concern. Finally, some possible responses to disability hate crimes are identified, including legislation, improvements in reporting procedures, community interventions, and support for individual victims.

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