Today marks another milestone for the #ImWithSam campaign as the parliament’s Petitions Select Committee publishes its report on Online Abuse of Disabled People.
Dimensions welcomes the committee’s report, which has made firm calls for legal reform, better support for victims and greater responsibility from social media companies. Much of the report draws on evidence submitted by #ImWithSam to the committee and it is encouraging to see support for key campaign goals.
Since 2016, we have made the case for better protection under the law for victims of online and offline abuse and called for improved support for victims of learning disability and autism hate crime from criminal justice agencies.
Mark Brookes, Campaign Advisor for Dimensions comments ‘The online and offline worlds are both important and people need to be treated equally in both spaces. They also need to be taken seriously when they say a crime has happened online or offline.’
For too long, people with learning disabilities and autism have been excluded from digital spaces out of a fear of abuse – particularly in the form of grooming or so-called ‘mate crime’. When victims do report, they are not seen as credible and their perceived vulnerability is given more attention than the motives of the perpetrator. Today’s report makes a clear call for change.
The Committee’s report will feed into the forthcoming review of hate crime legislation, led by the Law Commission this year. Dimensions will work to highlight the issues confronted by victims of learning disability and autism hate crime and ensure people are adequately protected from hostile crime.