Dealing with anti-social behaviour: Disability-related harassment, hate and mate crime
Guidance for housing managers
People are often targeted because they are disabled. This is hate crime and should be reported as such. So-called ‘mate crime’ is when people are befriended or groomed for exploitation and abuse. Parry’s research  found nine housing-related serious case reviews in which the person who died was harassed and subjected to anti-social behaviour. Seven of these individuals had learning disabilities.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission  has made recommendations specifically for housing providers to address disability-related harassment and abuse:
- involve disabled people in housing design and planning to help ‘design out crime’ from future developments
- intervene to prevent harassment occurring in the first place and respond to prevent escalation
- have a harassment coordinator to improve responses and support third-party reporting systems
- invest in awareness campaigns aimed at encouraging victims to come forward
- include provisions against disability harassment within tenancy agreements and take action against breaches
- protect security of tenure for any disabled person forced to move in order to avoid disability-related harassment.
In 2007 Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter, Francesca Hardwick, were found in a burnt-out car after years of experiencing anti-social behaviour and disability hate crime. This case highlighted the failings of the police to identify them as repeat victims and share information. The Independent Police Complaints Commission report  found that police responses to hate crimes were isolated and unstructured. This has led to a number of key changes in the way the police are expected to respond to repeat vulnerable victims.
Gemma Hayter, age 27, was murdered by a group of ‘friends’ in August 2010. Although there were changing and conflicting diagnoses over time regarding the nature of her disabilities and behaviour, she had a profoundly chaotic lifestyle and was known to be vulnerable to exploitation and ‘mate crime’. She lived alone in council accommodation and received floating support to help her maintain her tenancy. Gemma’s lack of diagnosis was a focus for decision-making and a barrier to accessing effective support. The serious case review commented that people who are at risk should not be allocated tenancies in areas, or properties, where it could reasonably be predicted that they may be subject to anti-social behaviour or abuse. 
Dr Suzanne Dow
Dr Suzanne Dow, a 33-year-old university lecturer, killed herself after months of harassment from a neighbour. Dr Dow had a previous history of mental health problems, including suicide attempts. She had written to Broxtowe Council, her neighbours’ landlord, 11 times during a 12-month period, asking for the family to be evicted. No proper assessment of Dr Dow was made by the council, despite her frequent emails indicating the impact of the anti-social behaviour on her physical and mental health. Following the inquest, where the coroner ‘ordered the authority to take action to avoid similar tragedies’, a wide range of Broxtowe Council staff attended training on how to identify vulnerable people. 
How to tackle disability related harassment (Chartered Institute of Housing, 2012)
Hidden in plain sight (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2011)
Anti-social behaviour: emerging practice from call handling and case management trials (Local Government Association, 2012)
Focus on the victim:Summary report on the ASB call handling trials (Home Office, 2012)
Tackling antisocial behaviour in Scotland: an action framework for social housing practitioners and governing bodies (Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Chartered Institute of Housing, 2008)