Family and child with Down’s Syndrome the victims of hate crime

editorial image

A child with Down’s Syndrome who is being bullied by her peers and a businessman’s family subjected to abuse are just two of the real-life examples being used to highlight Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The stories were highlighted by the PSNI who have been meeting groups and individuals who suffer from hate crime and spreading awareness of it.

Writing on the Craigavon PSNI Facebook page, police said the girl with Down’s Syndrome was in P7. “At first, other kids in the neighbourhood were fine with her.... As she got older however, comments started being made.

“She started being excluded from games, called really nasty names to her face, and eventually assaulted. As she ran to join in a game, she was tripped up, and as the kids shouted “down goes downy”, she was kicked repeatedly.”

When Police went round to speak to her and her parents they found her “beaming from ear to ear as she described how much she loved her school, her teachers, and her friends”.

They said, “Her biggest fear of all of this was not that she would get hurt, but that she would lose friends, have less people at her next birthday, and would put her best friend in an awkward position if she had to choose.”

In another case, a woman and her two young children were left terrified after they had abuse and stones hurled at them and were threatened with “being burnt out” as they walked to the shop from their home.

Police said the woman’s husband is a well-respected business owner who has lived in the district for 12 years.

“Due to cultural and religious reasons, the wife of the family wears a headscarf when outside the family home, and often when visitors come. Not covering her face, just a simple wrap covering her hair,” they said.

Police described the family as “home owners, business owners, who had integrated fully to their neighbourhood and who contributed to their community, targeted due to pure ignorance of who they really are”.