LAST year there was a slight decrease in online hate crime against disabled people in Worcestershire, bucking the national trend.
Recorded incidents of online disability hate crime came down slightly in 2018, from the seven reported in 2017 to only five incidents last year.
The levels recored in the region contrast sharply with other areas however, with England Wales seeing an overall 33% increase.
The research comes from charity Leonard Cheshire following its Freedom of Information requests to all police forces in England and Wales.
Almost three-quarters of the police forces – 32 – responded and provided a broad picture of how common these crimes are becoming.
James Howard, who experienced online disability hate crime and was supported by the charity, said: “People I don’t know take my photograph when I am out and about.
“They post it on social media for others to comment on – these comments are often nasty, hurtful and leave me feeling frightened and angry.”
Increases nationally could be due to forces becoming more proactive in encouraging victims to report their experiences, according to Leonard Cheshire.
However the charity says incidents picked up by police may just be ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
West Mercia Police assistant chief constable Martin Evans said: “Absolutely no-one should suffer abuse whether it’s in person or online simply because of who they are.
“We would always encourage anyone who thinks they have been a victim of hate crime in whatever form to come forward and speak to us by calling 101.”