Disability Hate Crime: ‘Don’t Hate Us!’ documentary ~ The Tonight Programme Broadcast Thurs 23rd August 2012 ITV1

 How sensational stories like these lead to tragedies like the following: 



Despite tens of thousands of disability hate crimes last year, only 500 resulted in a conviction. Photo: Tonight



Although there were an estimated 65,000 disability hate crimes last year only 2,000 were reported – and just over 500 resulted in a conviction.

And recent reports show that attitudes towards the disabled have worsened over the last year.

Francesca Martinez, who has Cerebral Palsy but prefers the term “wobbly”, is an actress and comedienne.

As a disabled person she has experienced negative attitudes and tonight she investigates the reasons behind the apparent increase in resentment towards some of the most vulnerable in our society.  


Francesca Martinez
Francesca Martinez heard stories of abuse as she travelled the country. Credit: Tonight




Francesca travels to the North East to meet Peter Greener and his family. Peter was subjected to a three-month campaign of abuse after a neighbour suspected he was faking his symptoms of disability to claim benefits.  



Peter Greener
Peter Greener used CCTV to capture his neighbour's abuse campaign. Credit: Tonight



Because he thought I was fake, he’s called me a spacker, a cripple, … a benefit cheat … a scrounger.


With the support of his family and the police Peter set up a CCTV camera and captured footage of his neighbour painting abuse on his fence and throwing stones at his house which enabled him to secure a conviction for harassment and criminal damage.

Francesca also meets journalist and expert in the field of disability hate crime, Kathryn Quarmby. She is concerned that reporting of disability fraudsters combined with the government’s “anti-scrounger” rhetoric is fuelling resentment to the genuinely disabled.

We know quite a lot about the way in which the media reports disability and the scrounger rhetoric that has started to increase recently. The incidents of words such as ‘scrounger’, ‘skiver’, ‘cheat’ and so on has tripled in the last five years.



Kathryn Quarmby
Journalist Kathryn Quarmby said some media coverage has hindered disability awareness. Credit: Tonight

Francesca also travels to Rugby to meet Sue Prince and Nikki Reid. Sue’s daughter Gemma Hayter was 27 and had learning difficulties when she was murdered in 2010 by a group of five of her so-called friends.


Adults with learning difficulties like Gemma Hayter are vulnerable to being abused by those they trust – something now known as mate crime.

Mate crime is a kind of subset of disability hate crime and it seems to be very specifically something that happens to some groups of disabled people, almost all of whom have learning disabilities.

Because of the problem of loneliness they look for any friends they can possible find, and so at the beginning they are flattered by the attention, quite often and will sometimes put up with really quite high degrees of violence.




3 thoughts on “Disability Hate Crime: ‘Don’t Hate Us!’ documentary ~ The Tonight Programme Broadcast Thurs 23rd August 2012 ITV1

  1. jeffery davies says:

    blame those in power for showing the way torys should go with their heads held low for the shame they brought to britain shame shame shame on you cameroooon jeff3

  2. Humanity2012 says:

    The Regime Media should be Reprimanded for their Irresponsible Bigotry against
    the Disabled which has Fuelled the Bone Headed Ignorance of those Scum Humans
    who have Attacked Violently Disabled People

    Do Gooders talk about the Human Rights of the Thug the Hooligan and the Yobbo
    but what is More IMPORTANT is the Human Rights of their Victims

    There should and must be Public Flogging of Thugs who Attack Disabled People
    together with Public Denouncing

    The Human Rights of the Disabled Victims are what Matters Not the Phoney
    ” Human Rights ” of the Thug The Hooligan and the Yobbo to Violate the
    Human Rights of the Disabled and Vulnerable

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