Yesterday Little People UK committee members met with a Hate Crime Officer, based in the Cambridgeshire area, the aim of which was to prevent people with dwarfism feeling threatened/abused.
It was a great meeting where we were able to explain and discuss issues people with dwarfism face, for example; staring, non-permitted photographs being taken, abusive language being used, physical attacks, amongst other things.
We received the following definitions regarding what classifies as hate crime and hate incidents:
Hate Crime - any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.
Hate Incident - any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
We were told that it is important to report ANY incident/crime which is as a result of being a person with dwarfism (no matter how small it may seem). These incidents can be:
- Physical attack - which should be reported immediately via 999 (emergency) or 101 (non emergency)
- Ongoing incidents by one person/family - which would also be identified as harassment
- Name calling when outside in public
- Photographs being taken without permission
- Being ‘touched’ by someone, because you are a person with dwarfism
- Incidents on Social Media e.g. offensive photos, GIFS, memes, etc.
Any other situations which may be deemed offensive, directed to a person with dwarfism, because of their dwarfism.
As much information as possible must be reported, to help build the evidence for any action by the police to occur.
Incidents/crimes can be reported online on the website - Report It, incidents/crimes reported can be left anonymously and only take a matter of minutes to complete. Reporting all incidents/crimes with as much information as possible will build up an evidence file of the incidents which occur.
All of us left the meeting with lots of ideas to ensure the number of ‘attacks’ on people with dwarfism are reduced. Everyone agreed to raise awareness of dwarfism, to make people more aware that people with dwarfism are to be treat the same as average height people, explaining that some actions are hurtful and some words are derogatory to people with dwarfism, helping ‘educate’ them on what is the correct terminology and behaviour to use. We all agreed to work together to promote reporting of crimes/incidents, to start building up a case file of evidence which in time we hope will have a positive impact on the changing the law.
We were given information about reporting incidents, in the Cambridgeshire area;
There are also third party reporting centres, some have been set up some in Peterborough (see list here) and they are a business or organisation who can assist with reporting hate crime, they are trained and can offer a safe place/room to someone who wants to report or who fears for their safety.
Although these are in the Cambridgeshire area, there maybe something nearby your area that can support you. Please get in touch on any of the details in this article and someone will help.