I recently blogged about being a victim of disability hate crime which I reported to the police. I made a statement and, until I pushed pretty hard, nothing happened. The man who abused me was interviewed today under caution and he denied everything. I didn’t expect him to admit to it but I didn’t really expect the reaction of the police officer who had been handling the case.
An Inspector had intimated that she was not the best officer the force had but her advice shocked me. She suggested that, since it was his word against mine and he denied anything other than an altercation between neighbours, that I buy a body camera (which would cost about £200) and use it to film evidence of the next time he abused me. She seemed rather put out when I suggested that doing that would break the data protection act and that I’d have to warn him I was doing it.
She then described the incident that I had reported as Disability Hate Crime which was then downgraded to Harassment as Anti Social Behaviour which, to my mind, is taking the piss more than a little. What I reported as a serious incident has been written off as a minor blip.
15 years ago I was moved into this flat in an emergency move. I had been the butt of antisocial behaviour by my neighbours. I was working long hours in a high powered job and had just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My mail was being stolen (the police suggested I put a notice on the door telling people to leave my mail alone), I was regularly sprayed with water from a hose (accidentally of course) as I was leaving home or coming back. Why was I targeted? I was different from them. I don’t have much of an accent, I worked in a posh office, I had no television and I didn’t socialise with my neighbours much.
The abuse became worse as time went on and every time I complained to the housing office there was sighs down the phone, unwhispered asides of “Who’s going to talk to her THIS time” and barely disguised irritation. I became more and more ill and was at the point of suicide before a housing manager intervened and got me an emergency move.
It feels as though it’s all starting again. If it was this one neighbour I could handle it but another neighbour is also causing me problems. It’s the pack mentality, the targeting of those they see as different or vulnerable or having things better than them. I cannot get into the position that I was last time. I cannot guarantee that I would survive if things get worse as I’m in the middle of what was an acute bout of mania and has now become chronic. My resilience is being eroded and I am disintegrating at a rate of knots.
The police have suggested in all seriousness that I shouldn’t react when I am abused and unless there is a witness not to report it. That means, in reality, that I’m being discouraged from defending myself and being told to accept the abuse. The officer said I had to “be the bigger person” which is a new way of saying accept shit.
Without witnesses they cannot or refuse to try to help. They have suggested illegal means in which to get evidence and abandoned me. Recently a man in a similar situation who was wrongly accused by his neighbours of being a paedophile was murdered by them. The inquiry has revealed that the police thought he was a nuisance.
That’s all I am to them – a nuisance. I’m not a vulnerable person that needs help, I’m not at risk of being ill to (perhaps) the point of suicide and I’ll only be taken seriously if I die.
What can I say – the system is geared towards enabling the perpetrators of anti social behaviour not helping the victims. My options are few – I either fight back alone or I give in and let the police presume that I was embroidering the truth. Some fucking choice.