"Is your friend wearing a mask?" said the woman who'd just stopped singing as one of Richardson's pals approached the mike. "Your friend's face is disgusting." The woman repeatedly told Richardson: "Take off your mask," before punching her in the face. The blow was so strong it could have been fatal and left Richardson hospitalised for weeks. For months, she was depressed and afraid to go out in public. Her attacker, brought to court in March last year, was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Richardson's story is shocking, but it is not unique. Disability hate crimes are under-reported by the media, and under-investigated by the police. But it's a problem that is getting worse not just behind closed doors, as happened at the private care home Winterbourne View, near Bristol, but on streets and in public spaces across Britain.
In a fortnight London hosts the Paralympics where the sporting achievements of more than a thousand disabled athletes will be rightly celebrated. But beyond the Olympic Park a more unpalatable view of how Britain treats people with disabilities exists, where disability hate crime is at its highest level ever recorded. In 2011, there were close on 2,000 recorded disability hate crimes in England and Wales, double the number in 2008 when records began.
Article by "Mr.Ben Riley-Smith"