Is the criminal justice system failing victims of disabilist hate crime?

Lawson, Deborah (2016) Is the criminal justice system failing victims of disabilist hate crime? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    For centuries, individuals with disabilities have faced deep-rooted societal prejudice and been subject to extreme and brutal attacks (Rieser, 2012, p.159). However, disabilist hate crime has only been recognised within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) since 2005 (Crown Prosecution Service, 2007, p.6) and been officially recorded since 2008 (Giannasi, 2015, p.239). As police statistics indicate that disabilist crimes have increased (Corcoran, Lader, & Smith, 2015, p.4), this dissertation’s specific aim is to evaluate whether the CJS is failing victims of disabilist hate crime. This research is significant because it provides an understanding of whether the current structures within the CJS are effective in the prevention of bias-motivated crimes.
    The dissertation utilises secondary data to assess the current definition of ‘disability hate crime,’ as well as evaluating hate crime legislation, the extent of disabilist hate crime, the police response, victim’s perspective, and finally, discrimination from broader society. Furthermore, the paper examines whether there has been an improvement in practice since the reports published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (2012; 2013) ‘Out in the Open’ and a ‘Manifesto for Change: Progress Report 2013.’
    The lack of clarity around the definition and understanding of ‘disability hate crime’ influence the CJS response at every stage of the investigation, which leads to the incorrect application of legislation (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, 2013, p.3). Furthermore, inadequate training preserves police prejudice, which contributes to inaccurate data, and incorrect provision (Giannasi, 2015, p.65).
    However, police cuts of 14 percent between 2010 and 2015 (Crawford, Disney, & Innes, 2015, para.2) may suggest that although the CJS is failing victims of disabilist crime, the way forwards incorporates a multi-agency approach with a commitment to address wider societal prejudice.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2017 15:18
    Last Modified: 20 Jan 2017 15:18
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22757

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