A DISABILITY charity has revealed that violent hate crimes against disabled people were significantly up according to police forces across England and Wales, and this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Figures obtained by disability charity Leonard Cheshire show that more than 5,000 disability hate crimes were reported to police in 2018/19 - yet few cases result in prosecution.

Across North Wales, recorded disability hate crime is up by 64 per cent, from 56 crimes in 2017/18 to 92 in 2018/19. Of these cases in 2018/19, a total of 46 involved some form of violence against the victim. Of these 92 hate crimes, just seven charges, summons or postal requisition as a result of CPS involvement and one resulted in community resolution – leaving 76 cases that were classed as ‘other outcomes’ in the data.

The charity also found disabled people across the country are facing increasing abuse online, with cyber disability hate crimes rising by 71 per cent from 201 in 2017/18 to 344 in 2018/19.

North Wales saw a decrease in the number of reports between the two periods with a decrease in cyber disability hate crimes by almost 30 per cent from seven in 2017/18 to five in 2018/19.

Leonard Cheshire CEO Neil Heslop said: “Hate crime against disabled people is significantly up with worrying increases in violent offences. Low prosecution levels are unacceptable and disabled people will feel a sense of injustice. Government and police forces must overcome barriers to successful case outcomes for survivors and perpetrators must be brought to account. Hate crime is devastating and more advocacy services like the one Leonard Cheshire runs in Belfast are needed to support survivors.”

Leonard Cheshire hate crime advocate Terence McCorry said: “Disability hate crime is targeting the most isolated and vulnerable people, many of whom do not know where to turn for support. Persistent crimes and incidents aimed at disabled people will leave them feeling unsafe in their homes and community, living in a constant state of alert and hypervigilance for the next attack. Disability hate crime is wrong.”

Nationwide, the vast majority (84 per cent) of hate crime cases in 2018/19 went nowhere, resulting in no charge or caution, with many of these cases dropped due to lack of evidence or no suspect identified. In 2017/18, around 82% of cases faced a similar fate.

Under existing guidance, hate crimes should be referred to the CPS for a charging decision. The disability hate crime 2017/18 figures from the CPS revealed that while successfully completed prosecutions with an announced and recorded sentence uplift for disability hate were rising, referrals from police were falling.

Greg George, head of diversity at North Wales Police, said: “We have dedicated hate crime officers who work with local policing teams to investigate and bring perpetrators of disability hate crime to justice. Unfortunately, there will be incidents when the perpetrator cannot be identified. It’s important that the victim is supported and measures put in place to stop any further crimes occurring.”

“If you have been a victim of or witnessed a hate crime, we urge you to be brave and speak out. Help us to stop hate crime and report every incident. Online hate crimes are a criminal offence to be treated as seriously as abuse committed face-to-face. There are many ways to report a hate crime. You can pick up the phone, go online or attend a support group in your local area.”

Figures from Leonard Cheshire reveal that just seven