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Girl in wheelchair victim of disability hate crime

22 Oct 2019
  • Four year old wheelchair user verbally abused

  • Police hate crime officer supporting Quinn and family

  • Mum Emma says more people should report hate crime

A four year old girl from Cheshunt who was verbally abused on her way to school because she was in a wheelchair has been supported by specialist police officers.

Quinn Ross, who suffers from a rare condition called Perthes’ disease, which affects the top of the thigh bone in the hip joint, was in an alleyway when a man shouted at her.

“It was appalling,” said mum Emma, 32. “The man was yelling in her face, saying she shouldn’t have been born, she was a drain on the NHS, a drain on society, and that I should have had her aborted if I’d known she was going to be disabled.

“I pushed him away, power-walked off to school and it was the school who phoned the police.”

Quinn, who lives with mum Emma and her three brothers, Tom, 11, Alex, 10 and Oscar, seven, is now having counselling to help her recover from last month's incident.

“Quinn is now scared of men and doesn’t like going out in her wheelchair,” explained Emma. “It left her feeling very angry at the world, but we’ve had a lot of support. I wasn’t going to call the police but I’m so glad we did. PC Holden and all the officers have been fantastic, rallying around. They organised a family ticket for Paradise Wildlife Park for her but she’s donated it to the raffle of a fundraising event we’re holding this weekend.”

She said son Alex, who was pushing Quinn in her Winnie the Pooh wheelchair, was also traumatised.

“The support Quinn and my son have had from the police has been amazing. We decided we didn’t want to prosecute but I’m so glad we reported the incident. I would recommend anyone who is victim of a hate crime to report it to the police.”

PC Terasa Holden, Broxbourne hate crime officer, visited the family and investigated the incident – a disability hate crime. “A hate crime is when someone is targeted because of their disability or learning difficulties, race, religion, beliefs or sexuality. No-one should worry about leaving home and facing abuse, particularly a little girl who is in too much pain to walk to school because of a rare medical condition. My colleagues and I have worked to support Quinn and her family and hope other people will come forward and report this kind of crime. We want people to know that we take all reports of hate crime very seriously and will always investigate.”

You can report hate crime to the police directly, by phoning 101, online or by visiting a third party reporting centre locally. You can even report anonymously – take a look online at hertsagainsthate.org.  In an emergency, always call 999.

On Saturday 26 October, the family is having a fundraiser at the Old Anchor Pub, in High Street, Cheshunt, from 12noon-3pm, for the Perthes’ disease charity which has supported Quinn since diagnosis two years ago.

Mum Emma added: “Long-term hopefully Quinn will not need to use a wheelchair, but currently she can only walk 10-15 steps and is in a lot of pain. The charity has been a big support and we want to give something back to them. Big thanks to Wendy at the Old Anchor Pub for hosting the event.”

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