Ron Hogg hosts seminar to tackle hate crime
Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, is hosting his second hate crime seminar on Tuesday 3rd June 2014 at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington.
Mr Hogg said: "Reducing the impact of Hate Crime still remains one of my personal priorities and features in my refreshed Police and Crime Plan.
"Following on from my last year’s seminar, good progress has been made to tackle hate crime locally. I recognise that there is still much to do to confront hate crime and tackle the scale of under-reporting. It is vital we continue to work closely with our partners and voluntary sector organisations to ensure that victims feel confident in coming forward."
The seminar will illustrate the work that has been done to address the issues which were raised at the first hate crime event in April 2013. This includes the launch of two community based projects, ‘Community Hands’ and ‘Safe Places’.
Stephen Miller, Paralympic Gold Medallist, will deliver a key note speech which will cover his athletics career and the importance of stopping hate crimes against disabled people.
Other speakers include; John Anderson, from ‘Show Racism the Red Card’, Bryan Russell from the Durham Agency Against Crime who will outline the Hate Crime Resource Pack that has been produced to help victims, and Verna Fee from Victim Support will speak about the commissioning framework.
One of the new schemes; ‘Community Hands’, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, it is an initiative aimed at recruiting community volunteers to be a local confidential point of contact for anyone who is suffering from hate crime. The volunteers will be trained to point people in the right direction for advice and support, ensuring that help will be available in the very heart of the community.
‘Safe Places’ is being launched across Darlington, in a range of central public areas and will provide a point of contact for anyone who feels threatened or anxious due to the behaviours of others around them. They will offer a range of support from a ‘listening ear’ to help with reporting the incident to the police if the victim wishes to do that. The needs of the victim are paramount and the safe place will offer the support that the victim feels comfortable with. This initiative will also be rolled out across County Durham in the near future.
Judith Morton, Community Safety Officer for Darlington Borough Council commented; “We are developing the Safe Places Network to ensure that on those hopefully rare occasions where someone is bullied or victimised they have access to organisations that can offer them a place of safety at the time that they are vulnerable and help them access ongoing support if they need it.”
“We are not developing this because Darlington is unsafe but because just like everywhere else, there are small numbers of people who pick on people who they see as different to themselves. We have to ensure that when this happens support is available to protect victims and that the message goes out that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Chief Superintendent, Graham Hall, will provide an update on the work of the ‘Joint Hate Crime Strategy: “I am extremely encouraged by the work and commitment of the Darlington and Durham Joint Agency Group on tackling Hate Crime.”
“This group of people have worked closely together to introduce a series of activities around improving reporting, increasing awareness and engaging with our protected communities. These activities are increasing trust and confidence and most importantly providing improved levels of care and support to victims of hate crime in County Durham and Darlington.”
Posted on Tuesday 3rd June 2014