A PARTIALLY sighted woman has bravely spoken of being viciously attacked in the street because of her disability – providing a powerful message about the impact of hate crime.
The woman, from Carmarthenshire, has shared her story anonymously as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, held October 10-17.
Kate (not her real name), said her attack was entirely unprovoked and left her feeling vulnerable and frightened.
She hopes that by speaking out she will encourage other victims of crime to come forward for support.
“I was about to go to an appointment, when all of a sudden I was aware of somebody watching me,” she said.
“I was aware of this person coming towards me and the next thing I knew I was being attacked and dragged along the road. Luckily, a passerby stopped and helped me.”
Kate was using her white canes to help guide her journey through town at the time of her attack, which she believes made her a target.
Her victim impact statement, and a witness statement from the passerby that helped her, proved a powerful testimony in her attacker’s trial helping put him behind bars for a significant sentence.
South West Wales Community Cohesion – representing Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion councils, and working with partners including Dyfed-Powys Police and Victim Support – are sharing stories like Kate’s to raise awareness of the impact of hate crime.
“Hate crime is always unacceptable – it should not and will not be tolerated in our communities,” said Kay Howells, Community Cohesion Co-ordinator.
“We thank Kate for sharing her story, it highlights the truly awful impact of crime perpetuated against someone because of who they are – it doesn’t always include physical violence, it can include offensive language, harassment, and online hate too.
“More than ever, it’s important that hate crime is treated as the serious issue it is.”
In 2019 there were more than 100,000 hate crime offences reported in England and Wales, and many more went unreported.
Hate crime includes any form of crime, physical or verbal, online or in person, because of someone’s identity, on grounds of race or religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender.
Anyone who experiences it, or witnesses it, should report it to receive appropriate support.