This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week - a campaign which brings people and organisations across the UK together to say no to Hate Crime. Its aims are to encourage hate crime reporting, to improve the way we respond to hate crime and prevent further incidents from taking place.
As part of the Community Safety Partnership – comprised of local agencies like ourselves, Greater Manchester Police, and the City Council - Southway is committed to actively monitoring and reducing hate incidents, in order to make our communities safer.
To support the campaign we wanted to help clarify what hate incidents are, let you know what you can do when you encounter one, and explain by way of a recent incident what we can do in reponse.
What is a Hate incident?
A Hate incident is any incident committed against a person or group that is motivated by the offender’s hatred towards their race, sexuality, disability, religion, age or gender. Examples of hate incidents include verbal abuse, vandalism, online bullying or damage to property and physical violence.
A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime. Incidents can harm individuals, families and society and can totally damage community relations.
True Vision's website has a lot of further information on the different forms of Hate Crime if you want to know more.
A brave family and community come together
Last year, a group of youths from the Burnage area targeted a family of Asian origin. The family experienced racist name-calling, stones being thrown at their windows and intimidating behaviour outside their home. The family were frightened to report the incidents, but when a brick thrown through their window almost hit a family member, they knew they had to speak out.
The family reported the incidents to Southway and we pursued legal action against the offenders. With the help of the family and other residents, who stood as witnesses, we successfully got injunctions against three of the ringleaders of this group. Southway also carried out joint warning interviews with Greater Manchester Police for the other group members and their parents and requested them to sign Acceptable Behaviour contracts.
A year on and we’re pleased to say this family are no longer disturbed by this group and are living in peace. The youths have been engaged with the Youth Justice Service, receiving tailored one-to-ones on the impact of the sort of hate crimes they had committed, which we are informed has been very effective.Caroline Lacey, Community Action Officer
What can I do?
At Southway, we have developed a reporting system to help us deliver a consistent and professional approach to tackle this often hidden problem. If you experience or witness a hate crime, please report it to us online here, or by phone, email or in person at our office. Southway is a third party agency and we report any incident to the police.
We're also launching a new Hate Crime & ASB this week, which you can come to with any questions:
Wednesday 16th October 1-3pm, Westcroft Community Centre, Burnage (details here)
Who else can help?
Southway works in partnership with Stop Hate UK, one of the nation’s leading organisations working to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination based on any aspect of an individual’s identity. Stop Hate UK provides independent, confidential and accessible reporting and support for anyone affected by Hate Crime.
You can visit the Stop Hate UK website or call their 24-hour helpline FREE on 0800 138 1625 to report a hate incident or seek support for individuals and communities affected by hate crime.
For more information about what Southway has been doing to address ASB and Crime in your area, see the Neighbourhoods news page.