Stop Disability Hate Crime in York

Coaching York have taken a number of opportunities to support the Stop Hate Crime agenda. After their involvement in a multi-agency Hate Crime Conference in 2015, I took up their offer of further coaching to the organisations who were at the conference.

Whilst hate crime affects a wide range of people on different grounds, I have a particular focus on hate crime towards disabled people and their families. For York Independent Living Network (YILN), I organised a community event with disabled people, family carers, their organisations and statutory organisations. Following that, we held a workshop for voluntary and community organisations and training on disability hate crime and how to address it. However it became clear that further work was needed to engage these organisations with the Stop Disability Hate Crime agenda.

To support this, I asked Geoff Ashton to facilitate a coaching session for YILN. Since there was already support from North Yorkshire Police but that the Stop Hate Crime agenda tended to be driven by statutory organisations rather than the community, I agreed with Geoff that we would focus this meeting on how disabled people could, with the support of their networks, address hate crime. With this ‘People Power’ I hope to achieve a strong collaboration with statutory organisations that is responsive to disabled people’s experiences of hate crime, and effective in creating a safe and secure environment in which disabled people can play a full and equal part.

As part of the meeting, Geoff introduced us to a coaching model to help us think about what action we could take. Beginning with our Objectives, we looked at the current Situation in which we found ourselves, or our members, as disabled people when we experience hate crime. We took a particular experience to explore Choices we could make in response to hate crime incidents, both to remedy a specific situation and to reduce the risk of repeat behaviour. We decided on a number of Actions before Reviewing the meeting. We found this OSCAR model a useful and straightforward framework which we can re-use.

OSCAR

The discussion around this revealed the assumptions we make about what is and is not possible to change, and gave us permission to challenge these assumptions. It reinforced our views that no incident is too small to address, and gave us some ideas as to how organisations can support one another.

I had a further conversation with Geoff after the event in which we were able to explore more deeply some of the issues raised, and helped me think about my own role and that of York Independent Living Network, and the opportunities it provides to address hate crime in particular and promote effective community engagement by disabled people through empowerment.

We plan to develop hate crime material – aimed at disabled people and at community organisations, and to identify ‘case studies’ – both positive and negative. We will present these at an event of disabled people, community organisations and statutory organisations.

Please visit www.yiln.org.uk for updates.

Marije Davidson

Volunteer Lead Stop Disability Hate Crime

York Independent Living Network

March 2016