Attitudes need to change
Learning disability hate crime, both online and offline, is an important issue.
The abuse that Katie Price’s son Harvey has been experiencing online is not right. However, it does not mean that Harvey should be forced to limit his use of social media.
For too long, myself and other people with learning disabilities have been excluded from digital spaces out of fear of abuse. We have a right to feel safe online. What needs to change is the behaviour of the abusers, not the victims.
Online disability hate crime should have tougher laws. Abusers should be prosecuted.
Social media companies also have a role to play. They should make their safety procedures easier to understand.
Through #ImWithSam, we’ve been campaigning to raise awareness of this issue among policy makers, the public and people with learning disabilities so that they recognise when a crime is happening and what they can do.
Katie Price’s advocacy has helped put the issue on the agenda.
The recent report by the Petitions Committee, which followed her petition to make online abuse illegal, alongside the Law Commission review into hate crime, are steps in the right direction.
Things need to change. I hope the Government takes the problem of hate crime seriously so that Harvey and other people with learning disabilities can express themselves online, free from fear.
Campaigns Adviser, Dimensions