New report shows extent of post referendum racism

The following report has been collected and collated by the social media sites PostRefRacism, Worrying Signs and iStreetWatch and, sadly, shows a similar picture was seen right across the UK, in terms of incidents of post referendum racism.

The reports describe gangs prowling the streets demanding passers-by prove they can speak English, offensive messages and symbols being drawn on house doors and many verbal assaults.

Worryingly, other incidents include toddlers being racially abused alongside their mothers, and children involved in both as perpetrators and the targets of the abuse.

You can view the full report by clicking here.

Stop Hate UK welcomes the release of this report and we’ll also shortly be issuing a report, based on our own Helpline statistics, pre and post ‘Brexit’.

By presenting a united stance of zero tolerance towards any kind of Hate Crime, organisations like ourselves and the sites mentioned above can really make a difference in helping all those affected by Hate Crime.

Response to Government Hate Crime Action Plan

At the time of writing, we have just witnessed yet more atrocities across France and Germany and, yet again, words fail us as to why these senseless, cowardly acts keep on happening and our thoughts and condolences go out to all the people involved and affected.

On the same day, the British Government reaffirmed its pledge to tackling Hate Crime in the UK, with newly appointed Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, announcing the Government’s Action Plan on Hate Crime.

Stop Hate UK welcomes this plan and is pleased to see the Government moving to recognise the seriousness of such crimes and why there has to be a zero tolerance approach to any form of Hate Crime.

No one should want to live in a society filled with hate and it should not be commonplace, in today’s world, to simply accept these horrendous acts as ‘part of life’. Hate crime, in any form, is not welcome here and we must stand together to tackle it and rid our society of such harrowing incidents.

Obviously, the recent increases in reported incidents of Hate Crime (since the referendum result) are deeply saddening and has felt like a real backwards step for the UK as a whole, in its attempts to stamp out Hate Crime; but let’s not kid ourselves. Racism, hate, intolerance – call it what you will – is still an odious undercurrent in the UK and, for some, the referendum result was merely a vehicle to jump on the back of and vent draconian views, like they suddenly had a right to do, which, of course, they did not.

It is the Government’s duty to spearhead the campaign against hate, working with organisations, like Stop Hate UK, to set out a clear message of zero tolerance, so we are pleased to see the Action Plan’s pledge of help where it is needed, particularly the promise of new training and advice for schools and journalists, improving victims’ support and creating a database of racist symbols so police can recognise them.

As an organisation that provides 24-hour support to anyone affected by Hate Crime, we are here for anyone who is targeted or is a witness to Hate Crime. Therefore, we want to see a more robust, consistent and accessible approach across the UK to independent reporting services. We hope that this focus on Hate Crime will lead towards this and, also, an understanding that to stop Hate Crime we need to ensure that we are all able to get support when we need it.

Over the next few days, Stop Hate UK will be publishing its own report, based on our Helpline statistics, comparing the 4 weeks prior to the referendum, to the 4 weeks directly after and we expect this to reaffirm the need for everyone to present a united stance on Hate Crime.

The message is clear – Hate Crime has no place in today’s society and no place at the table. No one should live in fear because of their disability, faith, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, age, alternative sub-culture, or any other part of their identity.

Brexit – Almost 2 weeks on, what do we now know?

June 23rd 2016 is indelibly etched in the UK’s political history, yet now, almost 2 weeks on from ‘Brexit’, we’re still not really any further informed as to what course the good ship UK will traverse through the choppy waters that lie ahead.

As a charity set up to tackle Hate Crime, we’ve seen first hand the ugly fallout from the referendum and some of the reports we’ve had, in the last 10 days or so, have been nothing short of shocking and it feels a little bit like, after Brexit, the UK has regressed about 20 years in its fight to tackle hate, discrimination, harassment and prejudice.

It’s important to note, however, that we must recognise that ‘Leave’ voters are not now all racist and, similarly, ‘remain’ voters are not now all ageist – something that certain groups and areas of the media seem to be trying to imply and sensationalise.
Hate Crime is a massively underreported crime and I also want to stress that point right now too. However, calls to our Helpline, which can include specific reports of Hate Crime or calls from people affected or touched by the issues, looking for help, support and advice remain high.

This last weekend (Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July) saw around double the normal levels we would handle and, since the vote result was known, the volume of calls to our Helpline is up around 4 times the volume of an average similar period.

Obviously, it is what we are here to do, but it’s not a statistic we are particularly happy or proud to report and, like the recent comments and pledges from David Cameron, we too condemn all forms of hate and welcome the pledge of a new action plan from the Government.

One thing that has happened, which we are pleased to report, is that we are seeing increased numbers of people coming forward to show support for the various charities and organisations set up to tackle these issues and there’s a real sense of the public and various organisations coming together to present a united stance on Hate Crime.

I’d like to go on record to say we’ve witnessed this first hand and to personally thank all the people that have sent messages of support to Stop Hate UK, via calls, emails and social media. Your support, in any form, is much appreciated.

Our message remains constant, throughout the turmoil of the last week or two – when it comes to Hate Crime, please REPORT IT. Don’t think twice to do it or try to rationalise actions that are wholly unacceptable.

Whilst the protracted affairs take place in Westminster, we want to see our existing and prospective leaders try and calm the country down and set peoples’ minds at rest. Not least, the groups of non-British people and those perceived to be non-British, seeking reassurance that being forced out of the UK is absolute nonsense and diatribe of the worst order.

What we need to do now, most of all, is to address the concerns and fears of ALL groups, British or otherwise and make community cohesion and safety our united goal.

Let’s hope the next two weeks sees a sense of clarity and calmness descend into society, but I rather think there could be more storm before the calm.

Stop Hate UK Statement – The rise of Hate Crime incidences after Brexit

Last Thursday’s referendum vote marked an historic day, in terms of the UK’s political landscape – it was always going to, whatever the outcome.

However, I am now certain that, with the dust still far from settling, no one really anticipated what this particular outcome really meant for the UK, in terms of repercussions and ramifications upon society as a whole.

As the weekend has shown us, the turmoil is far-reaching, with claims, counter-claims, u-turns and a general feeling that, at present we are somewhat rudderless and those that need to be our inspirational rocks are left floundering.

Sadly but, perhaps, not surprisingly, the UK’s immigration issue was probably at the forefront of many voter’s minds, given the type of campaigns run by the two main groups involved in the weeks and months leading up to the vote. To an extent, this was probably inevitable, given that immigration is such a sensitive, emotive and divisive issue in current times.

However, since last week’s vote, we have seen some alarming stories, across social media and in the press, where some people who are perceived to be non-British, are being verbally abused and, in certain cases being shouted at in the street that it was time for them to ‘pack up and go home’ or some having leaflets pushed through their letterboxes echoing similar sentiments.

Even more alarming is that such abuse and hostility is also being directed towards schoolchildren in the classroom and playground – a place they should feel absolutely safe.

Obviously, this is wholly unacceptable and perpetrators should be brought to justice.

Stop Hate UK has also spent time, since the vote was known, talking to people who are representative of the people in question and it’s very sad to hear them talk about no longer feeling safe in the UK and feeling isolated, vulnerable and genuinely scared to be here.

The vote on Thursday should not be seen and used, as a vehicle to engender Hate. This country, helped by many agencies and charities, such as Stop Hate UK, has worked tirelessly, to try to stamp out Hate Crime, in all its many and complex forms and we feel very strongly that, somehow, certain segments of the public now feel that the Brexit vote means that wholly inappropriate views and offensive language can now be used freely and without consequence and provides an excuse for xenophobic attacks.

The reported events of the weekend are, of course, extremely worrying and we must act quickly to ensure that the message to anyone affected by this is one of reassurance, empathy and determination to allay any fears they might currently have.

Therefore, Stop Hate UK echoes the many calls, from the likes of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other leading politicians and councillors, not to tolerate such incidences of Hate Crime and to report them immediately to the police, via the Stop Hate UK helpline 0800 138 1625 or other local Hate Crime service.

Rose Simkins

Chief Executive – Stop Hate UK

I Will Keep Fighting – Reflections a week on from Orlando

It’s been a week since the LGBT hate crime in Orlando and to be perfectly honest I’m still not sure what to say.

I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community and I was devastated when I woke up last Sunday to hear what had unfolded during the Latinx night at Pulse nightclub. I attended the Vigil for the Orlando victims in Leeds on Monday night. I spoke to friends and family members about what had happened, how they felt, what they thought…

And yet when I told someone I was going to write a post about Orlando, they asked “Why? You’ve got enough on your plate, do you need to? ”

No I suppose I don’t “need” to. After all what good is writing a post about it going to do? Perhaps they are right about that, this post isn’t going to bring back those people, it’s not going to change the world.

It’s been a week, plenty of other terrible events have happened around the world since last weekend. But the impact of this horrific hate crime hasn’t stopped because 7 days have passed. Time passing does not mean this tragedy is not still haunting the thoughts of people around the world. It does not mean that LGBTQ+ people don’t feel scared to go to LGBT venues anymore or be the person they really are.

I can’t help but think so this is what it takes? 49 people have to be murdered for people to think:

“Oh maybe we’re not quite at equal rights yet”

“Maybe allowing same sex marriage hasn’t made everything wonderful for the gay community.”

No it hasn’t and no we aren’t treated equally. This LGBT hate crime was a horrific display of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia but please do not make the mistake of thinking this is a one off hate crime. Please do not think that LGBTQ+ individuals around the world are not subjected to mockery, cruelty and even violence on a daily basis because trust me we are.

From the stares walking down the street holding your partner’s hand

The questioning looks in public when someone says “is that a boy or a girl?”

The person who tells you to go to the “right” bathroom

The family gatherings where you should be happy that you’re allowed to bring your “friend”

The “you’re so gay” comment made when someone does something stupid

The stereotype based bullying of the more masculine girl at school or the more effeminate boy

To be honest I could write on and on about the way the LGBTQ+ community are treated and how frankly tiring it can be. I could talk about the assault and murder figures for Trans People of Colour, especially Trans Women. I could talk about the self-harm and suicide rates amongst LGBTQ+ youth. But even as I write this, there is a small part of me saying “well who is really going to read this, who is really going to care” because after all it seems the vast majority of people only care when 49 individuals are murdered. But I have to believe that this will get better, I have to believe that these every day hate incidents and hate crimes will start being challenged and start getting rarer because if not what is the point of what I do.

I am very well aware that I have not written anything ground breaking here and that some people may read this and think “I’ve read this in every other LGBTQ+ blog.” But if reading these posts makes someone think twice about staring the next time they see a gay couple holding hands in public or whispering to their friend when they question a stranger’s gender, then trust me I am more than happy to be as repetitive as the next LGBTQ+ blog.

And to anyone out there reading this feeling alone and fed up, please know that you are not alone and these every day hate incidents are not something you should just “get used to.” Being targeted because of your sexuality or gender identity is wrong. The hate is wrong, you are not wrong. You are important and your identity is valid. So if you feel safe and comfortable to do so, please report it when you suffer a hate incident or hate crime. There are people out there who care and will do their best to support you.

So what has this horrific hate crime taught me? I guess it’s taught me what I knew but didn’t like to admit to myself, that essentially we have so much further to go and so much more to fight for. I for one am going to keep fighting and I would love it if you did too.

Oliver O’D – Assistant Advocate and Helpline Operator, Stop Hate UK

In response to the LGBT hate crime in Orlando Stop Hate UK have reopened the LGB & T hate crime helpline across England, Scotland and Wales. Report LGBT hate crime 24 hours a day on 0808 801 0661

Launch of West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting APP

Stop Hate UK is pleased to announce the launch of a new Hate Crime Reporting App.

Its aim is to aid witnesses and those targeted because of their identity, throughout West Yorkshire, to report incidents of Hate Crime and be able to access information and advice about Hate Crime services.

Development of the App has been made possible by funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner of West Yorkshire, as part of the Supporting Victims of Hate Crime Fund.

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK said:

“This is an exciting new service giving West Yorkshire residents and visitors greater choice to report Hate Crime. The new App complements our own helplines and other reporting channels and, by capturing images of incidents, can provide the additional evidence needed to successfully investigate incidents. The information in the App about Hate Crime and other partner agencies within West Yorkshire will help people seek help as and when they are ready to do so – be that immediately after an incident or when they feel ready.”

We would like to thank the Office of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner for supporting the development of the App and for demonstrating their commitment to achieving sustainable Hate Crime services.

Rose continued:

“All forms of Hate Crime are significantly under-reported. Some individuals and communities are reluctant or unwilling to talk to the police or their council. The App gives victims and witnesses a safe and independent way to tell our charity, Stop Hate UK, about their experiences and to explore their options for taking things further.”

People can report via the App anonymously if they prefer but where consent is given, we will work with others to find the best possible solution to the issues raised.

Hate Crime Reporting AppThe App can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store and Google Play by searching for ‘Stop Hate UK’ on either platform.

We’re also pleased to say that the advent of the App has recently been highlighted in an article in The Yorkshire Post and its launch seems particularly timely and, moreover, somehow more poignant, given the recent sad and very tragic events in the USA, which saddened and shocked us all so deeply.

The charity, whose Patron is Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon OBE, of Clarendon in the Commonwealth Realm of Jamaica; and ambassadors are Canon Mark Oakley of St Paul’s Cathedral and Great Britain athlete Adrian Derbyshire set up the Stop Hate Line in 2006 as a direct response to Recommendation 16 of the Macpherson Report (the enquiry into the handling of the death of Stephen Lawrence) which states that victims and witnesses should be able to report Hate Incidents 24 hours a day and to someone other than the police.

A Vision to ‘Stop Hate’ – Stop Hate UK Strategic Plan

We are very pleased to announce that Stop Hate UK is now in a position to publish its Strategic Plan for the period April 2016 to March 2019.

We have covered a lot of groundwork and planning in setting out our strategy, as we seek to continue our work with people who are affected by Hate Crime or other targeted crime.

Developing a 3-year strategy is a hard task, as we have had to look at all aspects of our work and the charity itself as a whole, from both an introspective and external viewpoint.

I am pleased to say that it was a thoroughly inclusive process, with every area of the organisation represented at an initial away day – from staff to volunteers and members and Trustees– so that we could listen to and gather the thoughts and opinions from people across the charity.

However, turning the spotlight on oneself is incredibly challenging; not only do you look inside to find the good things, but also the things we know we can do better.

Externally, the landscape is ever-changing as, invariably, modern life now moves at such a fast pace and technology evolves, finding more and more ways of invading our lives – sometimes in a great way, but other times in a much more sinister and intrusive way.

So, our first task was to set out what we are here to do…

  • To provide emotional support, advice and information on staying safe in the home or community.
  • To provide support on navigating the very complex criminal justice system and
  • To hold statutory and other bodies to account.

Stop Hate UK also has a long history of providing support to those affected by Hate Crime, often with complex needs, so we wanted to build on the very successful face-to-face advocacy and enhanced support work developed thus far.

Obviously, key to our services and a big part of our strategy as a whole, is to continue to provide our 24-hr helplines – often a ‘lifeline’ for those experiencing the harrowing effects of Hate Crime or other targeted crime.

Our helplines also provides a vehicle to report incidences of Hate Crime, so we are very pleased also to announce that the helplines will continue in their current format, featuring 3 distinctly branded lines. Opportunities to extend the scope of these lines and introduce new ones will be taken wherever this will help our aim to support more and more people experiencing targeted crime.

We also plan to continue to develop our role as a training and consultancy service to a variety of related organisations. Stop Hate UK has recently provided training to the police, prison services, youth offending team, probation services, housing bodies and multi-agency groups. Our new strategy aims to build on this platform whilst looking to increase the range of organisations to which we provide training and also the types of courses and subject areas we cover.

As ever, scrutiny will also be a part of our strategy as, with our extensive expertise, we now have experience in both setting up and managing scrutiny panels, which also includes the recruitment and training of panel members.

Stop Hate UK’s vision is clear and concise: “We dream of a society which is free from hate, harassment and discrimination, where all people are valued for their unique identity.”

But, to realise this dream, we need to be the organisation that provides the vehicle and channels for all those affected to be able to challenge, report and change their experience; we want to be there to support and empower people affected by all forms of Hate Crime; we want to be able to influence and guide organisations in their responses and we need to develop, build and maintain effective partnerships with other organisations to share in our dream.

We must also ensure that our core values do not change during the course of us working towards our vision. All staff, Trustees, members and volunteers must be committed to challenging hatred harassment and discrimination.

So, as part of the wider strategy, we have developed a list of core values that we must all fully embrace to have any chance of achieving our objectives.

For example, we must display genuine sensitivity to how people describe themselves, in order to communicate effectively with them. The language we use in how we communicate with the various people and groups that use our services is a crucial part of the services we provide. Essentially, what we say is of equal importance as how we say it.

To help us to achieve our strategic aims, then, we’ve also developed key objectives, that sit underneath each aim and we believe that if Stop Hate UK’s staff, Trustees, members and volunteers embrace and adopt the strategy and its objectives, our 3-year plan should carry the organisation forward to a better place and a stronger position, come 2019 and, hopefully, we can look back on this time and say that we had a real effect on and brought about change to the Hate Crime landscape.

To see our strategy document in full click here: Stop Hate UK Strategic Plan.

I sincerely hope that this information has given you a valuable insight, as to where, why and how our new strategy was developed and is to be deployed. I would also be more than happy to discuss any aspect of any part of it, if anyone feels they might have any questions or comments.

With that in mind, I thank you for taking the time to read this blog and we all now look forward to Stop Hate UK’s continued success in the fight against Hate Crime.

Rose Simkins
Chief Executive Stop Hate UK

Galop to run vital LGBT domestic violence service

Stop Hate UK would like to express how saddened we were to discover that Broken Rainbow, the UK’s only national LGBT domestic violence charity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender had gone into liquidation.

Regrettably, this serves only to show just how vulnerable services like this are and why we must all do more to support the vital work that is being done by many voluntary sector organisations.

However, since the news of Broken Rainbow’s demise, we are also very pleased to see that the service will continue but be run by Galop, the leading LGBT anti-violence and abuse charity.

Galop has been working for 33 years to support LGBT victims of abuse, violence and discrimination through a variety of services, including a helpline and as the lead partner of The Domestic Abuse Partnership, which is the only specialist multi-agency community response to LGBT Domestic abuse.

Galop has worked quickly with Broken Rainbow and the Home Office, which provides the funds, to ensure that there is no gap in service.

Nik Noone, Galop’s Chief Executive said,

“This is a vital service and it is important that those experiencing domestic violence in our communities have somewhere to turn when they need support. Galop has worked with all parties to make sure that support continues and there is no disruption to the delivery of this key service.”

Bob Green, Stonewall Housing’s, Chief Executive said,

“I am delighted that Broken Rainbow’s services will continue within Galop. I look forward to these services growing in the future under Galop’s direction.”

So, whilst Stop Hate UK would also like to echo those sentiments, we think it’s also very important to highlight the vulnerability that exists within key services like Broken Rainbow.

Thankfully, a swift solution was possible this time and, in line with the comments above, we also hope this service now goes from strength to strength under Galop.

20 years of challenging hate #10: Why I am who I am by Charlie Lee

At twenty-three I had never volunteered for anything before, never mind been on a training day! So the whole process was not only new but also ever so slightly terrifying. I hadn’t come through the usual channels that people go through in life to get here. Before a few months ago I had never heard of Stop Hate UK. That’s not to say that I wasn’t in need of it or that the publicity team aren’t doing a good job! It has more to do with the fact that I had no idea what Hate Crime was, I had no idea it was even a thing that happened. I thought it was just… the way of the world…

The rising name of Stop Hate UK has not yet spread to Lancashire, never mind the tiny village of Heysham that I called my home until very recently. Which is something that saddens me greatly but also fuels my desire to be involved more than ever. I can’t speak for anyone else but I know I could have used them back when I was in Secondary School. I went to an all girls’ grammar school for seven years – just that simple fact meant we were subject to numerous lesbian rumours and assumptions being made about us. In their defence they were kind of right, about me anyway (I identify as a Queer non-binary person now). But just because they were right it made it a hundred times harder to come out. That and the awful ingrained heteronormativity of our society and stigma of being gay (I didn’t really learn the term ‘queer’ until recently) made the first eighteen years of my life a never-ending nightmare of self-loathing, fear and lies – to myself and everyone around me.

Please don’t get me wrong, I have the most supportive family and an incredible group of friends that anyone could ever ask for! They made the very hard process of – trying to get to know, understand and accept myself – possible to begin with. I know for sure I wouldn’t have come as far as I have without them; especially the two ‘fellow gays’ I met on my first day of University. Tash and Abi gave me the push I needed and provided me with all the queer films, TV shows and literature that I could ever need. They were the first to ever really show me it was okay to be gay and to love who you love.

But being thirteen and sat in Sex Ed, surrounded by twenty-seven people you have come to think of as friends and hearing some of them talk about not wanting to be in the same P.E. changing room with a lesbian in case they ‘look at you’…. Or being seventeen and getting called into the Head of Sixth Form’s office at break because you were ‘caught’ writing lesbian fanfiction in your free periods and she thought it wasn’t ‘appropriate’ and ‘what if one of the younger girls saw it and thought it was okay to be gay?’

Alright, she didn’t say that last bit but it was very heavily implied. And just so we’re clear, other than the fact that the characters were two girls in love with each other, there wasn’t anything remotely ‘inappropriate’ in the story.

Or being put on report for skipping class because you spent that hour hiding in the basement toilets sobbing, overcome with self-loathing and shame for everything you are because the aforementioned teacher – someone who is meant to support and guide you – managed to destroy in fifteen minutes what you had spent your whole life building up and fighting for.

Our family spends most of our lives telling us we can be anything, do anything if we just work hard, believe and set our minds to it. But it wasn’t until after I confessed to my mum that I might be something other than straight, did I start to hear the words ‘it’s okay to be gay’, ‘it’s okay to be who you are’, ‘we will still love you no matter who you bring home’.

I swear when I started writing this I hadn’t meant it to be so dark and woe is me. I just wanted to try and explain how I came to be here, writing a blog as a volunteer for Stop Hate UK. My story is one of the lighter, less soul destroying origin stories, I’m sure. Even so, the littlest of things has affected and shaped me and how I live my life now. I have never been assaulted, or disowned, or fired because of who I am and who I love, like so many other LGBTQAI* people out there. But still the stigma, the ingrained fear that society has instilled in me since I was very young – the shouts of ‘lesbians!’ out of car windows as if it was a bad word, an insult – even after five years of proudly being with my fiancée, I still hesitate when I go to hold her hand in public, still have to fight back the fear and hate.

And that’s why, when Rose, the Chief Executive at Stop Hate UK, gave me her card a few months ago now, I knew I wanted to be a part of this charity. I wanted to use all those experiences – take all my past pain and hope for the future and love for my fellow Queers – and do something meaningful with my time on this planet. I knew I wanted to do everything I could to help stop hate.