Dimensions, one of the country’s largest not-for-profit organisations supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, has announced the launch of its new e-learning training aimed at tackling the under-reporting of hate crime.
Following the delivery of a six-year campaign and national training with police forces nationwide, Dimensions will rollout online training to forces across the UK in an effort to support police officers and build confidence around reporting hate crimes against people with learning disabilities and autism.
The e-training comes at a pivotal time for those living with learning disabilities and autism, with a survey by Dimensions outlining the continual challenges they face. When asked about their experience of hate crime, 82% of respondents revealed they had been verbally abused in person, while 34% had experienced this online. A further 44% said that they had been threatened, hurt, or coerced into doing things, and 34% said that they had been the victims of sexual abuse. Freedom of Information Requests made by United Response and Leonard Cheshire from 35 police forces also revealed that hate crimes involving violence were 27% higher in 2021/22 than the previous year, with online hate crimes up by 20%.
This research reflects the necessity of collaboration between police forces and support organisations to combat the underreporting of hate crimes, in an effort to replicate the successful partnership between Dimensions and Avon & Somerset Police, who will be rolling out the training to fifty Hate Crime TACs (Tactical Advocate Champions) with a view to extending it across 875 officers. Targeted training, in line with existing support Dimensions offer police, will educate organisations on how to handle hate crimes cases, at a time when support workers await to hear an action plan on supporting those living with learning disabilities and autism from the newly appointed Government.
In consultation with Avon and Somerset Police, Dimensions has refined the e-learning course delivered to the force last year, which successfully increased awareness and provided training for officers in how to respond to hate crime. The nationwide rollout of the training will coincide with Hate Crime Awareness Week, running from 8th to 15th October, with aspirations of transposing local success to a national level.
Dr Mark Brookes MBE, Advocacy Lead at Dimensions, said:
‘Ensuring victims have the confidence to report hate crimes is the primary aim of our newly launched e-training, created in consultation with Avon and Somerset Police. As someone who has personally experienced disability hate crime, I realise the trauma that accompanies such prejudice, and this nationwide launch will no doubt open the eyes of many to the reality which victims face and educate participants on how to both deal with and prevent such incidents in their organisations. We look forward to replicating nationwide the close collaboration we have had with Avon & Somerset police and welcome any police forces that are eager to support more victims, to contact us.’
How can WE prevent hate crime?
Ensure we are educated on hate crime, and the implications it can have on victims
Call out your peers, family and friends if you see or hear them do this
Report any hate crime to the police, or manager if it's within the workplace
Visit the Dimensions website to find out more about the Dimensions provision hate crime.