THE HEAD of a charity working with young adults with learning disabilities has branded a spate of online abuse and hate targeted at people with learning disabilities as “truly shocking”.
Since revealing the attacks via its social media accounts, MK SNAP has received overwhelming public support for its rapid response and defiant stand against those behind the online abusers.
The online attacks were encouraging social media users to mock people with disabilities. The content of some, is the subject of a police investigation into potential criminal behaviour.
MK SNAP chief executive Angela Novell said: “It has been truly shocking to see the impact that hate speech can have on vulnerable people and my caring team.”
However, releasing the charity’s position statement on Disability Hate Crime, MK SNAP has received overwhelming public support for its pledge to stand against hate and discrimination.
The charity has joined forces with MK Council and local charities and organisations across the city, including Camphill Communities MK, to fight hate crime and to educate people about learning disabilities.
Ms Novell said: “We acknowledge that this issue is not exclusive to one specific community, and that, as online hate speech affects our entire community, it is as a community that we will work together to face it.”
THE STATEMENT IN FULL
“MK SNAP is committed to fighting hate and discrimination in all forms and does not tolerate hate speech or discrimination in any way towards the people and families we support.
“We are saddened to say that the charity has recently been targeted by individuals wishing to spread hate on-line via our social media accounts; encouraging social media users to mock people with disabilities. This has been the subject of a police investigation into potential criminal behaviour.
“The charity is proud to support a diverse community of people with a range of disabilities and two of our key values are respect and inclusion. These values are reflected in our work which encourages multi-faith, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural respect and mutual acceptance of people from all backgrounds.
“We will support any of our learners and staff who feel affected by derogatory commentary, abusive behaviour, and discriminatory speech and are committed to protecting the community we serve from such behaviour.
“MK SNAP is working in partnership with organisations across Milton Keynes to fight hate and discrimination.
“We are collaborating with Thames Valley Police Community & Diversity Team and local safety charity, Safety Centre (Hazard Alley) Ltd to find ways to tackle these challenges and we are joining forces with other leading local charities and organisations who support people with disabilities such as Camphill Communities MK to stand against disability hate crime and to educate people about learning disabilities where we can. We are working with the support of MK Council.
“The charity hopes to promote an attitude of community, collaboration and understanding through the global issue of online hate speech. We acknowledge that this issue is not exclusive to one specific community, and that, as online hate speech affects our entire community, it is as a community that we will work together to face it.”
CEO, MK SNAP & MK SNAP Board of Trustee