A disability hate crime is a form of hate crime involving the use of violence against people with disabilities. The reason for these hate crimes are often due to the prejudice an individual or individuals have against that disability. It is viewed politically as an extreme of ableism, or disablism, and this is carried through and projected into criminal acts against the person with a disability. This phenomenon can take many forms, from verbal abuse and intimidatory behaviour to vandalism, assault, or even murder. Of these forms, the most common hate experiences are viewed through verbal abuse and harassment. Disability hate crimes may take the form of one-off incidents, or may represent systematic abuse which continues over periods of weeks, months, or even years. Parking places, wheelchair spaces, and other distinguished areas for those with disabilities to utilize, have become a target for enforcers of disability hate crime. These accommodations are somehow seen as an exclusion to the rest of the population, giving them a negative connotation and a reason for these violent encounters. The reasoning for disability hate incidents has had a continuous pattern all too familiar. Many of those with disabilities fall victim to these violent situations because they are seen as "scroungers", people that are falsely portraying their disabilities as a way to receive benefits, physical barriers, or simply as "easy targets".
Disability hate crime can occur in any situation and with any individual. Incidents may occur between strangers who have never met, between acquaintances, or within the family. The two key requirements for an act to be called a "disability hate crime" are that it is motivated in part or whole by prejudice against someone because of disability; and second, that the act is actually a crime.