An open and honest account from our Community Engagement Worker for International Day of People With Disabilities 2020

An open and honest account from our Community Engagement Worker for International Day of People with Disabilities 2020.

An open and honest account from our Community Engagement Worker for International Day of People With Disabilities 2020

I have always seen the world a little bit differently. When I was four years old, I could name the catalogue number of every Thomas the Tank Engine die cast model. I have Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

For most part, I was a happy child and I did not really realise that I was significantly different from everyone else. This started to change as I got older and found myself having to overcome more and more barriers and I found that I was being bullied on a regular basis. Although I did not realise it, I was a victim of disability Hate Crime.

One of the most notable examples was when I started secondary school.  l travelled to school by bus, first with my mother and then later on my own. This was the first time I had ever used a bus on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I would face bulling on a daily basis. I was very tall for my age and they started to call me Lenny – after the character from the John Steinbeck book “Of Mice and Men”. In the book, Lenny is a giant man with learning disabilities. I had not read the book myself at this point and I only realised the context several years later, when I studied the book myself for my GCSE English Literature exam and it was extremely upsetting.

I also remember a particularly unpleasant image being placed in my backpack by an older student which was only discovered by my mother that evening. I would also have things thrown at me and bags would be placed over spare seats, to make sure I could not sit down. In one particularly unpleasant incident a stone was thrown at the window of the bus where I was sitting. As I got older I found myself masking more and more as I was so anxious about being bullied.

I didn’t realise at the time that I was victim of Hate Crime. Even when I reported the issue to the school nothing really changed. I did not know who else I could speak to. In the end I stopped getting the bus to school and at one stage refused to travel on a bus for any reason.

Last month we marked the 25th Anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. For the first time it was made unlawful in UK law to discriminate against people, in respect of their disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport. While it is right that we recognise the progress which has been made since then, it is clear that there is still a long way to go.

The social model of disability says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their differences. For example, if a wheelchair user was unable to access a building due to stairs, it would be the stairs which are disabling them.

Hate Crime is one of the barriers disabled people face. The tragedy of Fiona Pilkington and Francecca Hardwick puts this into sharp focus. Francecca had a learning disability and the family had been targeted by a group of local teenagers for over a decade. Their home had been pelted with stones, eggs and flower and they faced constant abuse. On 23rd October 2007, Fiona drove Francecca to a secluded lay-by where she poured petrol over the backseat and set the car on fire. Fiona mentioned the gang in a suicide note to her mother. “The street kids, well I have just given up, I am just not cut out to take this much harassment.”.

We have also seen an increase in Disability Hate Crime due to the Covid pandemic. Many disabled people are exempt from wearing face masks and this means many disabled people receive abuse. Disabled people have also received abuse online and have faced suggestions that they should be locked up to stop spreading the virus.

Quite simply, Hate Crime is one of the barriers that creates disability.  I have just turned 30. I graduated from university in 2013 and I have since established a successful career in the equality sector. I am now working for Stop Hate UK, as their Community Engagement Worker, in the London Borough of Sutton. Disabled people have so much potential but it is only by removing these societal barriers that society will accept and appreciate the contribution of disabled people. To make this possible we need to be able to live without fear or abuse.

If you witness or experience Disability Hate Crime you can report it to Stop Hate UK 24/7 on 0800 1385 1625.

Please click here for the areas we cover.

Stop Hate UK – Comment on 2019-20 Hate Crime Figures

Stop Hate UK – Comment on 2019-20 Hate Crime Figures

National Hate Crime Awareness Week is always a timely reminder of one of the reasons why the week exists, when the annual Home Office Hate Crime statistics are released.

Sadly, but unsurprisingly, this year’s stats show another rise in the overall number of hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales – to its highest overall number since records began in 2011/12 – with racially motivated offences rising by more than 4,000 in a year.

Official figures show 105,090 hate crimes were recorded in 2019/20, which is a rise of 8%, compared with 97,446 offences in 2018/19.

According to Home Office data, race Hate Crimes accounted for almost three out of four recorded offences (72%), equating to 76,070 offences, a rise of 6% since 2018/19.

It is of particular note that, this year, a separate report has also been published by the government department, looking specifically at the trends during the Coronavirus pandemic, which warned that rises in racially or religiously aggravated Hate Crime in June were a third higher than the previous year and remained high in July.

The provisional findings has suggested that this is “likely to be related to the Black Lives Matter protests and far-right groups’ counter-protests in England and Wales following the killing of George Floyd, in the United States of America, on 25th May 2020.

The main Hate Crime figures also show that offences motivated by sexual orientation, rose by 19% to 15,835 in 2019/20, from 13,314 a year earlier, whilst Transgender identity hate crime went up 16% in the same period, from 2,183 to 2,540, reaching its highest level since records began in 2011/12 (296).

Disability Hate Crime increased by 9% from 7,786 to 8,469, which is also a record high.

The report puts the rise in Hate Crime over the last five years down to “improvements in crime recording by the police” but also recognised that there had been spikes in reports following events like the EU Referendum in 2016 and the 2017 terror attacks.

In fact, the only decrease in Hate Crime incidents, of any kind, occurred in Religious motivations fell by 5%, from a peak of 7,203 the previous year to 6,822 – the first drop since 2012/13, which is actually a surprise to Stop Hate UK, considering the feedback and dialogue we have with many faith groups and is also somewhat at odds with information gathered for the all-party parliamentary group for British Sikhs, organised by the Sikh Federation (UK) and the Sikh Network.

It focused on the network’s new Sikh Manifesto, which reported that anti-Sikh Hate has not been adequately acknowledged by the government and found that the number of crimes reported has risen by 60 per cent in the last 12 months, despite no government support to increase reporting.

Commenting on the Hate Crime figures as a whole our Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, had the following to say; “The rising figures are likely to be a combination of a rise in crimes and a rise in people coming forward to report them.

What we know from talking to people is that many are still not reporting these crimes and these figures still do not represent a true depiction or the scale of the full picture.

Some people call us and say they don’t want to go to the police or think they will be too busy to deal with it, so there are still a lot of people still suffering in silence. We want all those directly and indirectly affected to feel comfortable in reporting Hate Crimes, even if they believe nothing can or will be done because, if anything, it helps us to understand the extent of the problem.”

Rose also added that BAME and LGBT communities, and people with disabilities, in particular, had a ‘right to know’ how big the problem was, saying;

“The increased debate around trans issues and the recent controversy surrounding some ‘high profile’ people’s views on transgender issues, are most certainly contributing factors to the sharp rise in Transphobia, which is very worrying.

It is no huge surprise that racism accounts for almost 75% of offences as, in recent years, it has dominated police and our own reports. Sadly, many people use public debates – such as the discussion around gender identity and the Black Lives Matter movement – to be hostile and say hurtful things.”

It’s also a real worry to Stop Hate UK, that some families have reported that they were actually too scared to sit in their gardens, play with their children outside or put the bins out after experiencing intimidating behaviour from neighbours – and some people have felt unable to escape abuse in areas still subject to lockdown restrictions, which is potentially set to rise again now it looks like a second wave of the pandemic is upon us.

During the initial lockdown (which is the period covered by the separate report) incidents have included verbal slurs, being coughed at in the street and banging on walls or windows, with fears from some that such incidents may have been prompted by a backlash to the Black Lives Matter protests.

In summary, whilst we always welcome the publishing of these ‘official’ statistics and we agree that a certain amount of the increases can be attributed to ‘improvements in Hate Crime recording by the Police’. However, we also know that these numbers do not represent the full picture of the problem of Hate in the UK and that we still have much to do.

We also agree with the Home Office, when they say that “those who commit “hateful attacks should feel the full force of the law”.

To find out more about the work Stop Hate UK do and how you can make a difference, visit www.stophateuk.org or email info@stophateuk.org

Stop Hate UK Helpline launches in Croydon

Stop Hate UK is pleased to announce the launch of its 24-hour Stop Hate Line helpline service in Croydon, South London.

Commenting on the launch of service, Cllr Hamida Ali, Cabinet Member for Safer Croydon and Communities, said:

There is no place for Hate Crime in Croydon and tackling all forms of Hate Crime is a priority in our Community Safety Strategy. We know that too many people tolerate hate crime as a reality of life and don’t always report their experiences. We really welcome the availability of the Stop Hate UK Helpline for Croydon residents and encourage anyone experiencing any form of abuse, because of who they are, to come forward and seek support.”

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK, said: “All forms of Hate Crime are significantly under-reported and some individuals and people and people and communities are reluctant or unwilling to talk to the police or their council.

The Stop Hate Line, including all our range of reporting channels, gives all those directly affected by and witnesses of Hate Crime a safe and independent place to talk about their experiences and to explore their options for taking things further.

Rose continued:

We are able to support people who feel they have nowhere else to turn. Contact with our helpline, or other reporting channels, might be the first time an individual has talked to someone about the things they are experiencing. Other people may have tried to get help but find they are not satisfied with the response they received. No one should have to suffer Hate Crime in silence. Sadly the occurrence of Hate Crime has increased nationally but, working together with the council, statutory and community bodies, we can help to make a difference in Croydon.”

People can contact the Stop Hate Line anonymously if they prefer. Where someone has chosen to give their personal details to Stop Hate UK, their trained staff and volunteers will ask who they want their details to be shared with. The charity can also share information with the police and council, with consent, to ensure that those affected by Hate Crime, in any way, can access the support they need.

The Stop Hate Line is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year on 0800 138 1625. The helpline is also available by text message on 07717 989 025 and by email to talk@stophateuk.org. Service users with Hearing Impairments can report via interactive BSL by clicking the link on our website www.stophateuk.org. Victims and witnesses can also chat on the web or fill in an online form by visiting www.stophateuk.org/talk.

Stop Hate UK is a national charity that provides independent and confidential support to people who are affected by all forms of Hate Crime. The Stop Hate Line is Stop Hate UK’s Hate Crime reporting and support helpline. Anyone in Croydon can contact the Stop Hate Line to talk about how they have been directly or indirectly affected by Hate Crime.

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 John’s College, Cambridge and Great Britain athlete Adrian Derbyshire set up the Stop Hate Line in 2006 in direct response to Recommendation 16 of the Macpherson Report (the enquiry into the handling of the death of Stephen Lawrence) states that victims and witnesses should be able to report Hate Incidents 24 hours a day and to someone other than the police.

Stop Hate UK Response to latest Hate Crime Figures

Stop Hate UK Response to Latest Hate Crime Figures

“Stop Hate UK acknowledge the latest Hate Crime data published by Home Office which reflects an overall increase in Hate Crimes reported to police.

This increase is recognised in the work we do and our helpline services have seen a similar uplift on the number of contacts.

Generally we would welcome any increase in reporting to police as evidence that the historic barriers to reporting are slowly being removed. It is difficult, however, to confidently ascribe the increase in such a positive way as the EU debate is still a constant theme in our contacts and as such could mask any improvements in the service provided to Hate Crime victims.

Hate Crime is insidious and destructive; having a significantly disproportionate impact on those who are targeted in this way.  We do recognise that increases in Disability and Gender Identity Hate Crime reports are a welcome, albeit small, step forward as our experience tells us these communities are significantly under represented in official data.

We continue to support those that contact our helpline services and improve outcomes for them. However we continue to hear about very worrying incidents and it is clear we all need to do more to Stop Hate.”

Stop Hate UK Annual Statistical Report 2018/2019

We are pleased to release our 2018-19 Annual Statistical Report, showing trends in the Hate Crime landscape, including the number and type of contacts and the motivation behind Hate Incidents and Crimes, as well as demographic analysis and case notes.

You’ll also find key information on our training, new publicity materials and projects and our media exposure. To find out more about the work we do visit www.stophateuk.org or see our social media platforms.

Report Hate Crime in Newcastle

Stop Hate UK Helpline launches in Newcastle from 1st November 2018.

Stop Hate UK is pleased to announce the launch of its Helpline service in Newcastle, from 1st November 2018.

Councillor Habib Rahman, cabinet member for communities and chair of Safe Newcastle said…

“There is no place for hate and prejudice in Newcastle. We are a city of fairness, tolerance and equality, and tackling hate crime is a priority. We know the devastating impact hate crime has on victims and we are committed to making our communities safer.  That’s why we’re bringing in the Stop Hate UK service to help manage hate crime reporting in the city. We are confident that victims will get their voice heard and receive the support they need.”

Stop Hate UK has over 23 years experience in tackling Hate Crime and now seen as a leading national charity.

Our Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, said:

“The Stop Hate Line and our other range of reporting channels give victims and witnesses of Hate Crime a safe and independent place to talk about their experiences and explore the options for taking things further. Sadly the occurrence of Hate Crime, both offline and online, has increased nationally but, working together with Safe Newcastle, this is a trend we can start to reverse.”

For more information please visit: https://www.stophateuk.org/newcastle/

Stop Hate UK Response to the latest Police Hate Crime figures

Stop Hate UK response to latest Hate Crime figures

Yesterday saw the release of the latest Hate Crime figures in England and Wales, issued by the Home Office.

The figures report an overall increase of 17% in overall reports of Hate Crime incidents, to a record high of 94,098, with over 75% classified as a “race hate”.

Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly given the current political and social climate, there has also been a surge in the number of reports where the motivation of the perpetrator is an individual’s religious beliefs.

The report also shows that over half of all incidents of this kind were directed at Muslims.

Stop Hate UK’s own statistics, for the same period, reflect a similar pattern to those published today by the Home Office, in terms of the overall increase in reports and the motivations behind the incidents.

However, whilst we do agree that their is now a greater ‘willingness to report’ and the figures continue to be affected by ‘Brexit’, there is still much more we all need to do to tackle Hate Crime.

This is especially true as we prepare ourselves for the conclusion of ‘Brexit’ negotiations and the unknown outcomes that will doubtless affect the Hate Crime landscape further.

We must also do more to tackle incidents of online Hate, as the ever-changing patterns in our daily consumption of social media and other online platforms will only increase in the future.

To find out more about the work of Stop Hate UK visit www.stophateuk.org or email info@stophateuk.org

You can view the Home Office Hate Crime Report here.

 

 

Stop Hate UK – Response to HMIC Report

The recent report, issued by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), says that Police in England and Wales must tackle ‘significant problems’ in handling Hate Crime.

It’s a headline that makes people sit up and take notice and many are quick to criticise the authorities for not always getting things right in this area. However, there is a wider perspective that must be considered when looking at this potentially sensitive issue.

Whilst many of the UK’s Police forces have a Hate Crime strategy and defined strands of Hate Crime, there is still a lack of training and understanding about what Hate Crime is, the correct way to record the incidents and having the time, expertise and knowledge of how to respond to victims and witnesses.

We know that there is a great deal of inconsistency of the quality and quantity of training and we would like to see Hate Crime training prioritised – including refresher training – and checks to ensure that the message and policies are fully understood.

Our Police forces are already vastly overstretched and have had funding consistently cut for the last few years. However, if the report’s predicted trend in the rise of Hate Crime incidents does come to fruition in 2019, then those resources will be even more stretched to cope with any increase, no matter what the level.

It is, therefore, vital that the Police and authorities make use of the advice, support and training that is available to them from specialist 3rd party organisations, such as Stop Hate UK and that, collectively, we must adopt a collaborative approach to tackling Hate Crime.

Often, when people make their very first call to report or ask for advice regarding what could be perceived to be a Hate Crime or Hate Incident, that first conversation or point of contact is, arguably, their most vital conversation.

This is where 3rd party groups, organisations and charities provide such vital support to the Police. It is this specialist, expert advice that can often be the difference in how someone perceives their entire experience, in terms of the help they receive and their journey towards a resolution and/or outcome.

Stop Hate UK currently provide support to a number of the UK’s police forces and have developed many key relationships with other organisations during this time, proving that a collaborative effort is the key to tackling Hate Crime in our society, and that we are truly stronger together.

To find out more about Stop Hate UK, our training and support services and our work to assist in tackling Hate in our society, visit our website or search for our social media platforms.

Galvanising Leeds Towards A Hate Free City

Galvanising Leeds Towards a Hate Free City

Galvanising Leeds Towards A Hate Free CityOn 14th June, in Leeds Civic Hall, people from community groups, charities, the city council and the police came together, with a common goal – to ‘Galvanise Leeds’ towards being a Hate free city.

Organised by Stop Hate UK, the event was held in association with Safer Leeds and Passion Works CIC and was one of the first of its kind in the city, in terms of having such a diverse audience, made up of those at the forefront of the city’s Hate Crime Strategy, but also those who are no less involved yet, until now, have perhaps not had the platform or the access to such resources.

The event had received funding and assistance from the National Lottery Awards for All, Leeds’s Community Safety Partnership, Safer Leeds and the University of Leeds.

After a welcoming address from our very own Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, it was the turn of Harvinder Saimbhi, Head of Anti-social Behaviour for Leeds City Galvanising Leeds Towards a Hate Free CityCouncil, speaking as Head of Operational Delivery, gave a great presentation on the progress made by the Leeds Hate Crime strategy and its priorities for 2018.

We then welcomed Leeds GATE, the award winning community members organisation for Gypsies and Travellers, who presented a video they had made themselves, highlighting the issues faced by the group’s members. This was followed by a passionate address from Sophia Thomas, Director of TransLeeds, who provide support and advocacy for all trans* identifying people across Leeds.

The morning’s keynote speeches were rounded off by Stop Hate UK’s Director of London Services, but in his guise as Chair of the Government Independent Advisory Group (IAG) talking about the Hate Crime National Strategy and Priorities.

Prior to the day of the conference, delegates were invited to select to participate in a number of workshops, facilitated by various groups and individuals and it was at this point the audience divided to join their chosen morning workshops.

The morning workshops were run by West Yorkshire Police, Stop Hate UK, Ann Chapman Consultancy and Leeds Development Education Centre & Voice Influence & Change Team, covering such topics as transport, reporting and monitoring Hate Crime in Leeds, what communities should be included and young people, respectively.Galvanising Leeds Towards a Hate Free City

After a break for lunch, the afternoon workshops commenced, featuring topics such as Online Hate, Hate Crime in public places (city centre and nighttime economy, what makes a ‘safe place’ and engaging reporting and signposting in Leeds.

These workshops were delivered by Aspire CBS, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Stop Hate UK and Tea and Tolerance.

 

After another welcome refreshment break, the afternoon moved into a plenary session, introduced again by Rose Simkins, who welcomed the Ambassador of the Jo Cox Foundation and lead on the ‘More in Common’ movement, Kim Leadbeater, who delivered a rousing address on just how the tragic death of her sister Jo Cox has completely changed her life and focus, which certainly touched many members of the audience.

After a feedback session from each of the workshop groups, it was left for Rose to close the day and thank all the attendees, speakers and facilitators, plus those who had helped to organise this amazing and unique day.Galvanising Leeds Towards a Hate Free City

Commenting on the day, Rose said “We are very proud that Leeds is such a diverse city, but we need to ensure that all people, whatever their identity, feel part of it and, when we say diverse, are we including everybody?  We need to ensure that all voices are heard and that we all feel safe and secure in Leeds. I hope this event means there will now be a raft of things we can introduce that will make it even better.”

To find out more about Stop Hate UK or Galvanising Leeds, visit our website by clicking here.

Stop Hate UK Hate Crime Reporting App

Stop Hate UK – Updated West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App

We’re pleased to announce some changes to our West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App.

Although not one of the 5 nationally monitored strands of Hate Crime, Ageism still appears consistently in our own reports and statistics, so the new release of the Stop Hate UK Reporting App now contains Ageism as one of the available selections behind an incident’s motivation.

Stop Hate UK Hate Crime Reporting App

Also, we’ve enhanced the App so users can be more specific when specifying faith as the motivation for the Hate Crime incident. Now, if faith is selected, there is a supplementary question about the type of faith that was involved; e.g. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or any other faith.

These two changes will help us to make sure we are gathering more of the relevant information to provide help, support and guidance throughout the reporting and referral process.

A key addition to the new release of our App is that any audio, video or pictures are now automatically stored to your device (which was not possible on the previous version).

This means that once anything that might help in the reporting of an incident, such as a recording of someone saying something offensive or inappropriate, footage relating to an incident or a picture that could be important to taking the report further, would now be stored permanently on your device, until you delete it.

The advantages to this are that, sometimes, it could be that the situation of the incident could mean it is necessary to get away as quickly as possible, which can now be done with the captured images, audio or footage securely available on your device, to refer back to later and complete your report.

Another advantage is anything captured to the device will also be available for any authorities (e.g. the Police) or other organisation to view in their investigations or any other referral processes.

Finally, we’ve upgraded our App so that it’s now compatible with most tablet devices, featuring all the updates mentioned above, so it’s now even easier to access our West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App.

If you already have our App downloaded and installed onto your device, all you need to do is head to your app store and download the updates that are ready and waiting for you!

If you’ve not managed to download our App as yet, don’t worry! Just visit your device’s operating system’s app store, search for ‘Stop Hate UK’ and follow the instructions.

We hope that you find the improvements we’ve made to our App mean it’s a more user friendly and thorough method to report a Hate Crime incident. If you’d like to find out more about the work of Stop Hate UK or our Hate Crime Reporting App, visit our website or email info@stophateuk.org.