The charitable organisation Leonard Cheshire has reported a 33% increase in reports of online hate crime against persons with disabilities between 2017 and 2018 in the UK. The report also shows that 75% of respondents perceived this type of crimes to be increasingly common. While acknowledging that this may show an increase in reports and follow-up, it also indicates it may be just 'the tip of the iceberg'. A quote from victim Janine Howard vividly illustrates the abuse:
‘People I don’t know take my photograph when I am out and about, they post it on social media for others to comment on. ... The comments are nasty, hurtful and leave me feeling frightened and angry. There is no escaping this online abuse if I want to use social media. It’s horrible to know that my family might see this abuse online.’
In Online abuse of disabled people is getting worse – when will it be taken seriously? The Guardian expands on what it calls 'this depressing trend' in its commentary on the report.