Anne Novis MBE has been campaigning to have disability hate crime recognised since 1993. Since then, she has gone on to collate and present evidence to the United Nations on the abuse of disabled people.
I became a wheelchair user 23 years ago after suffering a spinal injury. It was then that I discovered the world of inequality, stereotype, stigma, discrimination and prejudice that disabled people face.
I have been attacked, vilified, mocked, threatened, shouted at, stared at and called names.
Once a man targeted me in a busy market â€“ shouting that as a disabled person I should have been killed at birth. He said heâ€™d kill me and raised his fists to hit me before a relative of mine rushed in to help.
I reported this as a hate crime but the law only recognised the attack as â€˜public disorderâ€™ â€“ I felt it certainly did not reflect the nature of the incident.
There is no specific â€˜disability hate crimeâ€™ offence: this means incidents can disappear â€“ if theyâ€™re not recorded or recognised, they can be invisible.
But we still suffer the consequences â€“ our confidence is affected, our fear increased.
After suffering prejudice for over 20 years you would think I would be prepared for hostility but I am not and do not think I will ever be prepared. Each and every time it is a shock and sickens my soul. I have now changed the way I live to always have someone with me when I go out, try to be unobtrusive and keep out of peopleâ€™s way. I also avoid public transport as much as possible.
But it hasnâ€™t stopped me from trying to make a change.
I have been working to set up a reporting system for disabled people who have suffered hate crime â€“ I want the venue not only to be accessible but also staffed by those who are empathetic to the experiences of victims.
At the same time Iâ€™ve also been doing a lot of research â€“ gathering articles and data. Iâ€™ve initiated work with local authorities as well as law enforcement and many other agencies in order to challenge inaction and inequality within legislation.
My campaigning activities have been extremely hard and, at times, disheartening but I do have hope for the future due to the slow changes I see now, the acceptance that disabled people do experience hostility due to prejudice.
I hope that we will eventually see total equality of law and justice for disabled people.