The Association of Chief Police Officers has released new statistics showing a rise in hate crimes against disabled people last year.
ACPO lead on hate crime, Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, said that disability hate crimes have been significantly under-reported in the past.
“Hate crimes cause a great deal of fear among victims and communities," he said.
"We are determined to reduce the harm caused by hate crime and as a service, we have listened to victims' groups who have told us that publishing this data will improve confidence in the police and the wider criminal justice system."
Tom Madders, Head of Campaigns at The National Autistic Society (NAS), said:
“Disability hate crime destroys lives. People with autism who struggle with face-to-face communication and interaction are often at particular risk of being victims of crime due to their social naivety.
"72% of adults with autism who responded to a recent NAS survey said that there has been a time in their adult life when they have been bullied or discriminated against because of their autism. This is unacceptable.
"Recent media articles labelling those who claim disability benefits as ‘scroungers' have arguably contributed to increased resentment and abuse being directed at disabled people.
“Everyone, whether they are disabled or not, has the right to live a life free from abuse and harassment.”
Su Sayer – chief executive of United Response, said the statistics are "shocking", but confirm that many people with learning disabilities face harassment and bullying in public.
"Unfortunately, this isn't a great surprise to us," she said.
"One of our drop-in support centres in London is always busy and full of activity.
"But at 3 pm, everyone suddenly leaves because they all want to get home before school children start to use the buses, as many are afraid of being bullied and taunted.
"This shows why it's more important that ever before for organisations such as our own to work with disabled people and the wider public to challenge the misconceptions around what living with a disability means.
"We must all do our bit to speak out against bullying of anyone when we see it. It would be a truly great Paralympic legacy to see the abuse of disabilities finally become unacceptable and outdated."