Tweeters against hate crime – take action today

Two events are coinciding on 15 November.

  • Police Crime Commissioners will be elected to the 41 policing areas in England and Wales.
  • The WEA’s Open Door Group will be attending the TES FE Awards ceremony as finalists for the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’Award.

Adults with a learning disability formed the Open Door Group and talked very openly in a video about how hate crime has affected them. You can watch the video, which features advice from MENCAP on what do if you are the victim of hate crime at: http://youtu.be/z_VJdAuYmKw. It is shocking and moving. The abuse survivors are taking action themselves to deal with the issues and using the video as part of a training scheme. There’s an earlier blog about them at: https://annwalkerwea.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/people-with-learning-disabilities-care-crime-and-a-community-education-campaign/

Please watch the video if you haven’t done so and then take just a couple of minutes to show your support today or tomorrow.

How can you help to stop hate crime?

My Life My Choice, a learning disability self-help organisation based in Oxfordshire, has set up a ‘Thunderclap’ social media campaign so that we can let newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners know that hate crime against people with a learning disability is a priority.

People who sign up for the Thunderclap will send the same tweet simultaneously to draw attention to the issue

The link is at: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/518-pcc-s-prioritise-hate-crime

People with learning disabilities are taking action themselves.

Let’s show them our support.

Please sign up now.

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People with learning disabilities – care, crime and a community education campaign

Six care workers were jailed last week and five more were given suspended sentences because they neglected and abused vulnerable patients in their ‘care’. A BBC Panorama investigation had exposed cruelty at the Winterbourne View private hospital near Bristol, which the Castlebeck group ran. A serious case review and a damning 150-page report followed, cataloguing dozens of assaults on patients. Abuse like this is not isolated and too many people with learning disabilities live with fear and humiliation.

Recent events show that we need advocates for the most defenceless people in our society. We should also support people in speaking out for themselves when it’s possible so that they’re able to share their experiences and have some influence over their own lives. Stephen Green’s election as England’s first parish councillor with Downs Syndrome is a significant step. Stephen from Nutthall, Nottinghamshire, is challenging the stereotypes of local politicians being explored in the Department of Community and Local Government’s ‘YBaCouncillor’ inquiry.

Other people with learning disabilities are speaking out about the discrimination that they face in their everyday life.

Twelve WEA students with learning disabilities have made a powerful and poignant short film about hate and ‘mate’ crime to raise awareness and to change attitudes towards disability hate crime. The TES FE Awards have recognised the Open Door – Tackling Disabilities Hate Crime project, shortlisting it for the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ award.

There’s more information about the project and a link to the film at http://www.wea.org.uk/news/opendoor.aspx. The film’s first hand accounts of hate and ‘mate’ crime are very moving. The Open Door group presented their film at the WEA Yorkshire and Humber Region’s Annual General Meeting last year and as part of Ruth Spellman’s induction to her role as the WEA’s General Secretary, giving updates on what’s happened since they’d made the film.

Winning a TES Award would be a wonderful achievement for the students but changing other people’s attitudes and behaviour is the real prize that they’re after. Wanting to live without pestering and persecution shouldn’t be too much to ask.