Tuesday 3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities which aims to empower and create real opportunities for people with disabilities to be active members of our communities.
Barnsley Adult Safeguarding Board wants to raise awareness of the day and would like people to be vigilant when it comes to spotting and reporting signs of hate crime and mate crime. This is when those in vulnerable situations are 'befriended' by individuals or gangs. They are taken advantage of; this may be by having their food and money taken, being forced to do things they don't want to do and sometimes having their homes used for illegal acts such as drug dealing. It's known that many adults do not know how to report these crimes or are told they will not be believed or that they will lose their "friends".
Wendy Lowder, Executive Director for Communities, said: "People should be free to live their lives without fear, hatred or intolerance. There is no excuse for behaviour that induces intimidation, persecution, terror, fear and harassment. Treating people in this way can affect self-esteem and confidence, reinforcing feelings of difference. Sadly, intimidation such as this happens continuously in the daily lives of people with disabilities."
South Yorkshire Police and Barnsley Council have been raising awareness of this particularly nasty crime and ask all residents to keep an eye on their neighbours, friends or family and report any potential signs, such as:
· lack of confidence and self-esteem
· anxiety and unhappiness
· subservient behaviour and a constant seeking of approval of so-called 'friends'
· not living at their home or not using their home due to "friends" taking it over
· lack of money or food
Anyone who sees abuse or has concerns about someone's safety is urged to report it by calling 01226 773300 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of hours concerns people can call 0844 984 1800. If the person is in immediate danger, they are urged to call the police on 999 or 101.
People can also find more information at arcuk.org.uk/safetynet/examples-of-mate-crime and mencap.org.uk/mate-and-hate-crime.
This news is linked to Town Spirit. We want to work better together. If everyone in Barnsley does just one thing, together we can make our borough a more welcoming place where people want to live, work and visit.
We're committed to #LiveIt by supporting Barnsley's most vulnerable people and helping them get access to support at the earliest possible stage. #OwnIt by checking on older and disabled family and neighbours and telling us if you think someone is at risk of neglect or abuse.