At Quarriers, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to speak out about issues that affect their lives.
Quarriers Discovery Group is a peer-led network for adults with a disability who are supported by Quarriers. The group provides people we support with a platform to raise issues which affect their lives, influence policy and have their say both on an organisational and national level.
At the group’s meetings, the topic of hate crime was increasingly being discussed. Every day, people with disabilities in Scotland experience hate crime, ranging from bullying and verbal harassment to physical assault and abuse. The group felt very strongly about this issue: many members had experienced hate crime first-hand or knew someone who had been affected, and this, sadly, is not an uncommon scenario.
In 2014, Quarriers established a steering group to enable people we support and staff to work together to explore how Quarriers as an organisation could tackle the issue of hate crime. Caroline Gray, Florence McQuilter and John Wheeler, all of whom are supported by Quarriers, were key members of this group, and played a crucial role in the development of Quarriers WAR on Hate Crime: We’re All Responsible campaign.
The campaign was launched in February 2015 with the key message that everyone – you and me, the police, the Criminal Justice System and victims of hate crime themselves – has a responsibility to ensure that hate crime is not acceptable and is tackled as a serious issue in Scotland today.
The WAR on Hate Crime campaign aims to:
Since the campaign’s launch, the steering group has been working hard to spread its message. Members of the Discovery Group have given presentations on hate crime at the Scottish Parliament at a joint meeting organised by Enable and Quarriers, while questions on hate crime were tabled by Jackie Baillie MSP in the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the Cross Party Groups for Disability and Learning Disability.
The group has also been involved in delivering a workshop on hate crime at The Gathering 2015.
Quarriers, together with other third sector organisations in Scotland, have recently joined with Police Scotland to promote reporting disability hate crime by launching a new See It, Report It wristband. The hate crime steering group is keen to explore further ways to support people with a disability to deal with and report hate crime in their communities.
Over the coming months people supported by Quarriers will be working with H-Arts Junction to produce a drama about hate crime, with the aim of raising awareness about the impact of bullying and harassment among young people and the wider community.
At Quarriers Volunteer Awards in June, Caroline, Florence and John were highly commended for their work with the hate crime steering group. This recognition is very well deserved. Their hard work over just a few short months has helped raise awareness of hate crime and what to do about it both inside and outside Quarriers. Caroline, Florence and John are proving that a few voices can make a difference and that by speaking out against inequality, we all have the power to effect real change.
To sign up to support Quarriers WAR on Hate Crime, please visit www.quarriers.org.uk/hatecrime.