ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201903.0153.v1
Online: 14 March 2019 (12:26:19 CET)
Mate crime is a specific subset of hate crime in which the perpetrator is known to the victim. To date, there is very little research into the perception and experience of mate crime in autism. The aim of the current study was to examine perceptions of friendship and mate crime in autistic adults, using semi-structured interviews. Five adults were interviewed about their experiences of social interactions, friendships and mate crime. Participants described distancing themselves from the ‘disability’ label whilst growing up to avoid condescension and being perceived as vulnerable, whilst learning to camouflage their social difficulties. Feelings of anxiety were associated with socialising, and participants valued relationships that did not place too many overwhelming demands on their time or energy. Finally, all participants had prior experiences of bullying. They understood the concept of mate crime but were unsure as to whether they would be able to identify it in their own lives if it occurred. However they could identify potential support networks in close friends and family. Results highlight the importance of further research into positive and negative aspects of social relationships in autistic adults, and the need to provide support to those who are socially vulnerable.