Tim Farron, MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats writes letter of support for National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015

I’m proud to add my support to ‘No to Hate Crime Awareness Week’ and the work of all the organisations who have come together to build better and safer communities.

 

No-one in our society should be threatened, targeted, attacked or abused for being who they are.

 

It is the duty of community leaders, elected officials like me, and those in a position of public power and influence to lead the way.

 

Britain celebrates diversity and individuality, and I believe we should all work together to build a society where everyone can live freely and safely, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexuality, nationality, age or disability.

 

For too long hate crimes were left to go unchallenged, with prejudice lurking on our streets, in our schools and in the work place. Weeks like this help us all remember the past, and also recognise how far we have come. Thankfully, it is through the vital work of organisations like yours that we are starting to turn the dial on public awareness. But more must be done. As the latest figures prove, hate crimes remain on the rise. We may feel that society is more likely to challenge prejudice, but it’s as prevalent as ever and now is not a time to be complacent.

 

There are thousands of people across the country, and many young people, who still face abuse and threats. It is our duty to pave a way to a better future. We will not tolerate hate crime, we will speak out against intolerance and ignorance, and we will prosecute abuse.

 

The Liberal Democrat constitution begins with a commitment to building and safeguarding a fair, free and open society. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of every individual, and we reject all prejudice and discrimination.

 

I wish all of those involved in #NHCAW great success with the week, and with your future campaigns. You all make a great difference to people’s lives, day in, day out, and for future generations. You have my party’s full support.

 

Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

 

Jeremy Corbyn MP writes letter of support for national Hate Crime Awareness Week

Message of support for Hate Crime Awareness Week

 

I want to pass on my support for this year’s hate crime awareness week.

 

Standing up against all forms of hate crime; Disability, Faith, Gender Identity, Race, Sexual Orientation and other emerging hate crimes, has always been core to my values. It is vital that we tackle all forms of prejudice wherever and in however they appear.

 

This year’s focus on raising awareness of Islamaphobic hate crime is particularly salient in light of the appalling murder of Mohammed Saleem as he made his way home from evening prayers last year. Despite all the progress we have made on equality issues Islamaphobia continues to be a daily challenge for too many in our communities. In order to truly be a society that accepts no barriers to talent and contribution we must challenge the often unpleasant and narrative that emerges too often amongst commentary on the Muslim community.

 

It is vital that we encourage all of those subjected to hate crimes to report their experiences, in order to both hold those who commit such pernicious actions to account, but also to empower those affected and demonstrate the confidence that we as society will not tolerate the actions of those who seek to divide us. I am particularly pleased that the work of Tell MAMA is being widely promoted throughout this week. I encourage all those subjected to Anti Muslim hate crime to share their experiences.

 

The work of hate crimes awareness week in bringing together so many community and faith events across the country is an vital example of demonstrating that this country expects better. It is particularly encouraging that the number of activities held throughout the week continues to grow and I would like to pass on my best wishes to all of those involved in making the week a success.

 

We must never cease in our battle to make Britain and kinder and fairer place. I urge you all to remember those who have suffered or are suffering today and join our tireless battle for change.

 

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party

 

David Cameron writes letter of support for National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015

Hate Crime Awareness week is an important reminder of the need to continually confront hate crime and take every opportunity to celebrate diversity in Great Britain.

 

It is also a chance to remember those who have been a victim of these despicable crimes and champion people who make it their duty to challenge intolerance and hatred.

 

Crime in all its forms is wrong, but to persecute people purely because of their background, gender, creed, sexual orientation or physical and mental ability is utterly abhorrent. From 2013-2014, there were more than 44,000 hate crimes recorded by the police – an increase of five per cent. This is unacceptable in a 21st century Britain.

 

For too long, we’ve been so frightened of causing offence that we haven’t looked hard enough at what is going on in our communities. In too many cases there has been a passive tolerance in Britain of behaviour which fuels division and tensions in our communities.

 

So let me be clear: no more passive tolerance in Britain. We all have a responsibility to stop this hatred: whether it is as simple as challenging the attitudes and behaviour that foster such prejudice at a young age or backing communities so they feel they have the tools to speak out against hatred.

 

The government has a crucial role to play in this too, which is why we have one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to continue to protect communities from hostility, violence and bigotry.

 

So we will continue to support communities and charities like Stop Hate UK and 17-24-30 so that victims are heard, perpetrators face justice and communities are protected.

 

Over generations, we have built something extraordinary in Britain – a successful multi-racial, multi-faith democracy. Our diversity makes us stronger and my one-nation government will go on working hard to end discrimination and finish the fight for real equality in our country today.

 

PM David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party

20 Years of Challenging Hate #9: by Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS, London

In our diverse capital city we ALL need to be aware of hate crime…

 

As Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in London it was really important to me that my organisation took part in Hate Crime Awareness Week and supported Stop Hate UK. We are all fortunate to live in a hugely diverse and vibrant city, however, this means that it is ever more important for everyone who works, lives and visits the city to be vigilant to hate crime. Those who commit hate crime attack the diversity which makes this city so great.

 

In CPS London we will be using Hate Crime Awareness Week to provoke a discussion on hate crime within our teams and units and ensuring that all our staff are up to date with the latest policies and guidance we have on hate crime. In addition I want to make sure that all staff are attuned to the sensitivities involved in prosecuting hate crime including the use of language and terminology.

 

But it is not just the Criminal Justice System that has a role to play in stopping hate crime.

 

Thankfully most Londoners will not have seen or experienced hate crime but for many of you reading this blog it may be that you have been a victim yourself, you know someone who is a victim or you have been a witness to hate crime. I want you to know that we will do everything we can to support you through the court process once a prosecution for hate crime has begun. Victims and witnesses of hate crime can be given special measures to help them give evidence in court, such as being screened from the defendant or giving their evidence through an intermediary. CPS prosecutors are given training to deal with these types of cases and the sensitivities they can entail, such as the fear of ‘outing’ in homophobic hate crime cases.

 

I have seen the profound effect hate crime can have on victims, their families and the wider community – but it is not just victims who can report these types of crime. Even with the support we can give victims may still feel too scared to report the crime themselves. They may not understand that they were a victim of hate crime due to language barriers or learning difficulties. If a witness reports the crime and is willing to give evidence we can prosecute the case as a hate crime. This allows the court to consider a tougher sentence and will hopefully result in the victim and the community feeling a greater sense of justice.

 

Hate crime can take many forms including hostility towards race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. However, a victim does not have to be gay to be a victim of homophobic hate crime, it may be that a person shows hostility because they think the victim is gay. Alternatively if a person shouts racist abuse at a victim but they do not understand it because they do not speak English, it can still be prosecuted as a hate crime if a witness hears it and realises that it is racist.

 

Hate crime is a key priority for the CPS and in London we have a Scrutiny and Involvement Panel which is made up of members of community groups and support organisations as well as our criminal justice partners. The panel examines completed cases to identify where lessons can be learned and where good practice can be shared. It also allows us to gain insight of how these crimes are affecting communities and how we can better support victims.

 

I have pledged to do all that I can to tackle hate crime by ensuring that our prosecutors robustly prosecute offenders in court, we support victims and working with local communities. I hope that you will also pledge to do your part by not averting your gaze or keeping quiet if you are a witness to a hate crime, report to the police what you see and hear and help us to achieve justice.

 

Baljit Ubhey OBE

Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in London

 

 

Press release 14/10/15: 18% increase in Hate Crime reporting across England and Wales

Yesterday, the Home Office produced figures to show an overall 18% increase in Hate Crime reporting for the 5 monitored strands – disability, faith, gender identity, race and sexual orientation – across England and Wales.

 

While an increase in the reporting of any crime may be disappointing to some – this particular increase provides some good news for all those working to support people affected by Hate Crime. We know from other findings such as the British Crime Survey for England and Wales, that Hate Crime is particularly under-reported across all the strands; many more people experience Hate Crimes and incidents but do not subsequently report to the police or other agencies. This reluctancy to report can be for multiple reasons – a general mistrust of the police or the criminal justice system, a poor previous experience of reporting, a fear of reprisal from the perpetrators or others, or a lack of knowledge or confidence around where and how to report.

 

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive for Stop Hate UK, said

 

“ The Home Office figures show, to some extent, that the work Stop Hate UK and other agencies, including the police are doing to raise awareness around Hate Crime and develop accessible systems is slowly having an effect on the increase in reporting from the public. However, we cannot be complacent or satisfied in any way that we have done enough to facilitate people who have experienced Hate Crime from stepping forward to report. We want everyone to know how Hate Crime affects people and how getting the right support can change how we feel about ourselves.  Hate Crime ruins lives and we all need to show that we have no tolerance for Hate Crime in our society.

 

I do welcome the increase in reports of Hate Crime to the police over the last year but I am still concerned that we are not seeing and addressing the true picture of misery that infects the lives of those who experience hatred.”

 

While the figures show a substantial % change in the number reporting religiously aggravated incidents – 43% in 2014/15 compared to 2013/4 – this increase may be due in part to more accurate recording rather than more people reporting. The reporting of hate motivated crimes due to a person’s gender identity has only increased by 9%; this strand is the most under-reported of all strands with only 605 incidents being reported during 2014/5.

 

 

 

 

Rose continued

 

“ Organisations across the sector are encouraged by the increase in reporting of Hate Crime across all the monitored strands; we are all working hard to improve the quality and effectiveness of the services we offer. This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week and the number of activities and initiatives taking place is great to see. But, while there are thousands of people still being impacted by hateful words and behaviour, our work will continue to try and build their confidence and trust in reporting Hate Crime and we will all continue working together to improve the accessibility of our services. There is ‘No Place For Hate’ in our society.”

Press release 10/10/15: National Hate Crime Awareness Week; Stop Hate UK extends its helpline service for the week!

National Hate Crime Awareness Week

10-17 October

Stop Hate UK are once again proud to be working in partnership with the charity, 17-24-30, to coordinate and promote National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015.

 

17-24-30 was set up in 2009 by Mark Healey and Ryan Parkins following the London bombings in 1999 so that we would never forget the 139 people who were killed or injured. National Hate Crime Awareness Week has since become a focus each year for individuals and organisations, large and small, to show their commitment to stopping hate.

 

The week begins on Saturday 10 October with a service of Hope and Remembrance at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where a candle will be lit by Maz Saleem, in memory of her father, Mohammed Saleem who was murdered in 2013 and all those who have lost their lives or experienced Hate Crime.

 

During the week various events and initiatives will be held throughout the country by charitable and voluntary organisations, statutory agencies such as the police, police and crime commissioners, local authorities – and many others. Through information stalls, campaigns and social media these agencies will be working together to raise awareness about the different ways to report Hate Crime and the support services that exist to help those who are affected.

 

This year, the response from organisations and agencies has been terrific; some of the events and activities being held are very imaginative. In Leeds, the First Direct Arena is lighting up in red in support for all those affected by Hate Crime; there’ll be Samba dancing and food tasting in Plymouth; a multi-media art exhibition in Derby and a ‘Cuppa with a Coppa’ in Yarm. The week’s activities culminate on Saturday 17 October which is the International Day of Hope and Remembrance; a number of candlelight vigils will be taking place across the world in remembrance of all those affected by Hate Crime.

 

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK said:

 

“It is wonderful to see so many organisations working together to raise awareness about Hate Crime. Hate Crime across all monitored strands – disability, faith, gender identity, race and sexual orientation is a much under-reported crime. The Home Office Hate Crime statistics, due to be released on 13 October will hopefully show an increase in Hate Crime reporting across England and Wales which will be good news; however, while the number of Hate Crimes continues to rise there are many people who are suffering in silence and whose well-being, physical and mental health has been adversely affected. It’s important that we all continue to work together to ensure that those people who have been impacted by Hate Crime know where and how they can access support and the different options available to them. We want to see all perpetrators brought to justice and our communities made safer.”

 

Rose also said

 

“As part of Stop Hate UK’s commitment to the week we are extending our existing helpline service, 0800 138 1625, to anyone in the UK who experiences or witnesses Hate Crime for the duration of the week. Our lines will open at 6pm on 10 October and stay open for anyone, wherever they live in the UK until 6pm on 17 October. Please call or contact us by phone, email, text, text relay, web chat, online forms or the post”.

20 Years of Challenging Hate #8: The jigsaw puzzle of effective partnership working by Andrew Bolland

Andrew BollandHi, my name is Andrew. I’m proud to have worked for Stop Hate UK for 6 years and have had varied roles within the organisation and am currently Partnerships and Contracts Manager; I believe it’s really important to work with other agencies to ensure victims can receive the best support possible.

Central to everything we do at Stop Hate UK are the people who take that, often difficult, first step to tell somebody about the hostility they are facing and the impact it has had on their lives. When somebody does contact us via one of our helplines, our team, who are there throughout the day and night, offer the very best of help – giving service users the time to explain what they have been going through, listen to how they have been affected and discuss what help they need to stop the abuse and allow them to move on from the abuse they have been facing. We discuss the different options that are available to provide support and offer referrals to specialist organisations. Whilst I am sure the direct emotional and practical support we offer is of great assistance to victims, I equally recognise the value of the services offered by partner agencies and how by working together using a holistic approach we can ensure that the best possible support is provided.

So who are the partners we work with and what makes the partnerships work effectively? We work with not only with statutory agencies such as local authorities, the police and Police and Crime Commissioners but also with other national and local voluntary sector agencies, community groups, social housing providers and specialist service providers.

So how do we ensure our partnerships work effectively? Effective partnership working relies on a number of factors:

Having a common objective – This goes back to the essence of why we are all here – we’re here to support victims, families and communities who are affected by discrimination and hostility. Partnership working allows us to concentrate and focus our efforts on specific objectives and outcomes jointly with other agencies who are delivering complementary services.

Understanding partner agencies – Every organisation is different. They have their own vision, aims, unique story and identity, culture, ethos, way of doing things and provide a range of specialisms and services. Different agencies will have differing service delivery targets and funding mechanisms. Also, organisations are made up of people – so it is important to understand the structures in place within partner organisations and the role and remit of key contacts within the organisations. Having this understanding enables us to show respect to other agencies and develop relationships that are constructive and deliver outcomes for victims that allow each organisation to achieve their overall objectives and together provide the support that is needed by people.

Knowing your place in the partnership – Working in partnership is similar to building a jigsaw puzzle; individual organisations, the pieces, are put together and when complete, produce an outcome, effective support for victims that enables them to cope and recover – a picture. When a piece of the jigsaw is missing, for instance – an organisation providing their unique and specialist services, the outcome may not be as good as it could have been. For example, Stop Hate UK could (and do!) provide the very best of reporting and support services via our helplines and dedicated team; but, if we were not able to work with partners delivering specific and specialist services such as – the Police who can investigate incidents, housing providers who can respond to tenant issues, voluntary agencies who can provide ongoing emotional support, advocacy assistance etc. , we would be less likely to provide the victims with outcomes that fully meet their needs.

Trust – Ultimately partnerships rely on trust. An understanding that agencies within the partnership deliver effective services; some partners may be better placed to deliver tailored support to the person who has been affected by Hate Crime than others – other partners need to be willing to refer or signpost on when appropriate. Partners need to be comfortable sharing information to ensure services work effectively and able to have constructive discussions about ways in which individual partners can work better together developing and improving their services further so that service delivery for individual service users is optimised.

So there it is successful partnership working in a nutshell! But, clearly there are pressures that sometimes make things more complicated.

In recent years we have all gone through a period of austerity that has put pressure on organisations; less funding for services leading to fewer staff and in some cases the loss of vital organisations and services. Fewer staff means increased pressure on those remaining – more varied job roles, more work and less time to do it in! Sometimes individual agencies find themselves competing against each other for funding or a higher profile; and sometimes it may feel easier to concentrate on our own core services rather than spend time in meetings with other organisations trying to develop joined up approaches. It’s a viewpoint I guess – but let’s go back to the jigsaw metaphor and ask ourselves “Does my organisation have all the knowledge, skills and abilities, experience, systems, services and time to deliver all the support that a victim of Hate Crime needs?” I know my answer would be no – I and my organisation can play a part, yes we can help – but without other organisations we could never deliver all the outcomes that will help someone truly recover from the impact of hostility.

So can partnership working really work? For us, yes it can. For example, 18 months ago Stop Hate UK were commissioned to provide our Stop Hate Line Service throughout Merseyside. The service is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) with active support from the Merseyside Criminal Justice Board, their Hate Crime sub-group, Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. In addition to our reporting service, Merseyside Police, the PCC and local authorities across Merseyside have also been active developing and promoting a large number of community based third party reporting centres who signpost people to the helpline. These centres based in housing offices, libraries, museums, local authority offices, fire stations and hospitals. Additionally, funding has been provided to the Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF) to coordinate ongoing advocacy support to victims of Hate Crime. AWF work with other specialist organisations to ensure tailored and holistic support is provided to meet victim’s needs whatever the hate motivation is based on – someone’s disability, faith, gender identity, race, sexual orientation or other aspects of identity. This support is further aided by the referral of cases to multi-agency case review meetings to access assistance from other agencies as appropriate. It is no coincidence to me that, as a result, we have seen a significant increase in reporting both to the Stop Hate Line and direct to the police in Merseyside. Local communities have become more confident reporting incidents and they recognise the coordinated multi-agency activity that is taking place to challenge hostility, increase reporting and support victims.

So, my final thought? When I have to be on a train at 6am in the morning to get to a meeting in a distant part of the country to meet organisations who we work with – do I feel tired? Yes, of course. Is it worthwhile? Yes, of course it is. When those meetings lead to ongoing positive relationships that facilitate joint working to support people who are suffering the impact of discrimination and hostility – it’s a small price to pay!