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.