Discriminatory Abuse

Types of Discrimination

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • Age
  • Being or becoming a transsexual person
  • Being married or in a civil partnership
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • disability
  • Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • Religion, belief or lack of religion/belief
  • Sex/Gender
  • Sexual orientation.

(These are the Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010)

You are protected from discrimination:

  • At work
  • In education
  • As a consumer
  • When using public services
  • When buying or renting property
  • As a member or guest of a private club or association.

You’re also protected from discrimination if:

  • You are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, eg a family member or friend
  • You have complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim.

Forms of Discrimination

  • direct discrimination – treating someone with a protected characteristic less favourably than others
  • indirect discrimination – putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but that put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage
  • harassment – unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for them
  • victimisation – treating someone unfairly because they have complained about discrimination or harassment.

Possible Signs or Indicators of Abuse

  • Verbal abuse, derogatory remarks or inappropriate use of language linked to a Protected Characteristic 
  • Acts or comments motivated to harm and damage, including inciting others to commit abusive acts
  • Harassment or deliberate exclusion on the grounds of a Protected Characteristic
  • Sub-standard service provision relating to a Protected Characteristic
  • Denying access to communication aids, or not allowing access to an interpreter, signer or lipreader
  • The person appears withdrawn and isolated
  • Expressions of anger, frustration, fear or anxiety
  • An adult making complaints about the service not meeting their needs.  

What You Can Do

If you think you have been unfairly discriminated against you can:

  • Complain directly to the person or organisation
  • Use someone else to help you sort it out (called ‘mediation’ or ‘alternative dispute resolution’)
  • Make a claim in a court or tribunal
  • This may also be something that can be dealt with by your local adult social care service – Report Abuse


Hate Crime

Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are hate crimes and should be reported to the police.

Hate crimes can include:

  • Threatening behaviour
  • Assault
  • Robbery
  • Damage to property
  • Inciting others to commit hate crimes
  • Harassment.

The following short film highlights some of the key issues linked to learning disability related hate crime:

Report Hate Crime on-line



Call 999 if you’re reporting a crime that is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger. If the crime isn’t an emergency, call 101.

Mate Crime 

Mate crimes happen when people with learning disabilities are befriended by someone who uses the relationship to exploit or abuse them.

For example, they might take over a person’s flat and treat it as their flat, or they might ‘borrow’ money or things which they never give back.


General Safety Tips Here are some tips to follow if you are out and about:

  • Stay alert – awareness is your best defence
  • Leave venues with friends wherever possible
  • Try to stay in well-lit areas
  • Be confident – even if you don’t feel it
  • Travel as if you know where you are going
  • Take the most direct route and try to stay within areas where other people are around
  • Trust your instincts – if you think something is wrong then act on it
  • Have your keys available when you reach your home or car
  • Keep money for taxis – the expense is worth it
  • Carry a personal alarm and use it when necessary.


The following video is part of the #WhoRYa campaign which provides advice for adults with a learning disability on how to stay safe online:

Find Support in Your Area

 Find Support in Your Area