Report It to Sort It logo
VICTIMS of hate crime will be helped through an innovative network of support being launched across County Durham and Darlington.
Under the slogan ‘Report it to Sort it’ a range of agencies have come together to give victims the channels to report the crime and get the support they need.
Schemes such as Safe Places, which provides a range of safe havens across the area for hate crime victims to get support; and Community Hands, a dedicated volunteer helpline number for potential victims, are just some of the innovative tactics being used to tackle the issue.
The partner agencies, which include Durham Constabulary, Crown Prosecution Service, Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and the Police & Crime Commissioner's Office also aim to demonstrate to offenders that hate crime will not be tolerated in our communities and we will bring robust prosecutions against those involved.
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said:
"We need to do everything we can to help those in our communities who are suffering from hate crimes, and support those who become a victim of this in the future. Hate incidents are crimes which are taken seriously, and I hope this week gives individuals the confidence to report these to the police, instead of suffering in silence.
"This week is very much about partners working together to raise awareness of what a hate crime is, as well as signposting individuals to other local schemes which are there to help individuals who need advice and support. Knowing that help is close by can make all the difference to their quality of life.
"I am delighted to announce that as part of this awareness week, a new Hate Crime Resource Pack is being launched, designed by Durham Agency Against Crime. It has been developed to celebrate diversity and support education that challenges hate crime, and can be used by professionals and volunteers who are working with young people to address hate crime."
Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Vice Chair of the Safe Durham Partnership Board and Portfolio Holder for Safer and Healthier Communities, Durham County Council said: “All partners working under the banner of the Safe Durham Partnership are clear on our approach to Hate Crime we will not tolerate hate crimes or hate incidents within our communities.
“We want our communities to be places that are fair and tolerant with a strong local culture where everyone can feel safe.
“Everyone has a right to live their life without fear, we all have a responsibility to report hate crimes or hate incidents wherever we see them. If you have been a victim or have witnessed a hate crime it is extremely important that you report it to the police however small it may appear to you.
“We are working hard to make it easier to report these incidents to the police and to make sure victims receive the best possible support and that all partner agencies respond effectively to hate crimes and incidents.”
Gerry Wareham, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said: "Safety and security and the right to live free from fear and harassment are fundamental human rights.
“The CPS recognises the wider impact of all forms of hate crime, which are damaging to people’s sense of safety and security within their own communities."
Criminal offences that are driven by hostility or hatred based on personal characteristics undermine the very principles of fairness and equality upon which our society is built. Such crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate and those values have no place in an open and democratic society.
“The CPS is committed to supporting those who have been victims of hate crime, working closely with police to bring robust prosecutions against those involved.
“For us to do this, I would encourage anyone who thinks that they may have been a victim of hate crime to take that vital first step and report it to their local police force.”
Gordon Pybus, Chair of Darlington Association on Disability, commented: “It is disappointing that some people still act in a derogatory way and even commit crimes against people just because someone happens to be a disabled person. It is vitally important that victims of such incidents and crimes have a safe place to go to report what happened and get support from people who understand and care.”
Because of the work that Durham Constabulary and its partners has done In engaging with protected groups we have in the past two years seen a 66.4% increase in the reporting of hate incidents from 288 incidents to 434 incidents. This is in line with the significant increase in measured confidence in BME, LGB and disabled communities. In this period we have seen confidence within the BME community rise from 53% to 76%, the LGB community rise from 55% to 62% and the disabled community rise from 50% to 64%. Despite the rise in incident reporting we have maintained our high level of detection, which currently runs at 43%.
For further information please visit: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/hatecrime.
Posted on Sunday 18th January 2015