REPORTS of disability hate crimes are rising in Wiltshire, but just one has led to a charge since 2017, reports from a disability charity show.

In the year 2017/18 38 hate crimes were reported against disabled people, rising 61 per cent to 61 by 2018/19 and more violent crimes were also reported.

Leonard Cheshire said low prosecution levels are unacceptable and leave disabled people feeling a sense of injustice.

A woman who was supported by Leonard Cheshire’s hate crime advocacy service and wished to remain anonymous said: “Our experience [of hate crime] took over our lives.

“We felt isolated, afraid and alone all of the time.

“We went from being active, independent adults to our children no longer wanting to leave us at home on our own.

“This was a very dark period of our lives, leaving us emotional scars which we will always carry with us.”

Joshua Reeves, campaign support officer for Leonard Cheshire, said: “Hate crime to me is hugely cutting and it should be taken more seriously by law enforcers.”

Last year Wiltshire Police reported that the increase showed that more people were willing to come forward and speak out about abuse.

There has been an 86 per cent increase in hate crime figures over the last five years.

National hate crime figures will be published by the Home Office on Tuesday.

Wiltshire Police will comment on disability hate crime on Tuesday.

Speaking last year, superintendent Dave Minty, Force lead for hate crime said:”Public education to prevent hate crime is key.

“For those affected, hate crime is a hugely distressing experience and is completely unacceptable.

“We have 42 hate crime advisors offering local support to hate crime victims. We also want to understand what stops some people coming forward to report to us and are launching a new hate crime victim survey to be better informed.”