Working together to support National Hate Crime Awareness Week
Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police are supporting National Hate Crime Awareness Week, a week of action to encourage communities to come together to help eliminate hate crime.
Hate crime can involve people being targeted based on their disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation. Merseyside Police expand these strands further and also monitor hate crime against those who sex work, which is seen as unique but often best practice for the support provided. The force believes that every person in Merseyside has the right to go about their lives without being the target of abusive language or criminal behaviour motivated by hate or prejudice.
To help ensure that all Hate Crime is managed, recorded and investigated in the most robust manner, the force employs five dedicated Hate Crime Coordinators for each area of Merseyside.
Each coordinator provides specialist advice and support for all Hate Crime victims and works with partner agencies to identify and develop strategies to prevent and reduce repeat offences.
The coordinators also work with their local authorities, education providers, travel companies and businesses to provide them with the tools and resources that will encourage them to call out and challenge hate when they see it. We acknowledge that not all victims of hate crime would wish for police action or for prosecution, so if more organisations have the awareness and methods to confront the issue, this helps our ploy to bring the offender to justice.
The public can also play a crucial role in supporting our fight against hate crime by reporting where and when such offences are happening. Once we are able to identify offenders, we can make sure we bring them to justice and ultimately ensure we protect all of our communities from being subjected to any hateful behaviour.
To support the week of action, there are a range of activities happening across Merseyside to help prevent hate crime and increase awareness of the support available to anyone affected.
In Liverpool, officers will be providing hate crime awareness sessions to the youth players at Everton Football club, a key number of primary schools and the job centres based in the city centres. These sessions are designed to raise the understanding of what constitutes as a hate crime, as well as how and when to report it if you or someone you know becomes a victim.
A new play about race hate crime written by Maurice Bessman is touring schools and community centres. Titled ‘Reckless’, it has been funded by the crime and disorder partnership, Citysafe.
Detective Superintendent Cheryl Rhodes said: “Merseyside has a reputation for being a welcoming, friendly place and there is no place here for hate crime. Everybody has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and so we will not tolerate hate crime in any form.
“Our officers and team of dedicated hate crime co-ordinators work tirelessly to provide support to victims of hate crime, investigate such incidences and find those responsible, bringing them to justice.
“We work closely with partner organisations including LCR Pride, the Michael Causer Foundation, Citizens Advice Liverpool, local councils, and licenced premises across Merseyside to understand community concerns, educate people on the harm that hate causes in our communities, and develop our awareness and encourage reporting.
“We also support the Police and Crime Commissioner and partners on the ‘You’re Safe Here’ scheme to create safe spaces in venues across the Liverpool City Region. This involves delivering training and resources to enable them to support someone that has been the victim of a crime, feels intimidated or is in need of assistance.
“As a result of this collaborative work with our partners, I am pleased to report that Merseyside has seen a 10% decrease in Hate Crime reports for the last 6 months compared to the same period last year. That being said however, Hate Crime is still very much an ongoing issue, so I would still urge for anyone who believes they have been subjected to abuse or left in fear because of who they are to come forward and let us know. We have the support available and we will take action against those responsible.”
Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “No-one should receive abuse because of the colour of their skin, their sexuality, religion, or if they are disabled.
“Raising awareness of the issue and giving people the confidence to report crimes and get support is absolutely vital.”
How to report a hate crime and get support
If you have witnessed a hate crime, or have any information, please contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Centre. You can also call 101.
If, for any reason, you do not wish to the report to the police, Stop Hate UK will ensure you get the appropriate emotional and practical support. They offer a free, confident and accessible 24/7 reporting service for all victims of hate crime, including multi-lingual reporting, the Stop Hate UK app, phone line 0800 138 1625 and webchat www.stophateuk.org.
Anyone affected by hate crime can visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for help, advice and to get the contact details for organisations which can offer support.