What’s on the line? | Hate Crime Awareness Week

National Hate Crime Awareness week runs from October 10th – 17th 2020.  Tennessee Williams said: ‘I think that hate is a thing, a feeling, that can only exist where there is no understanding.’

Hate crime is a term which we have heard increasingly over the past few years and is something which affects many people in our society. It is a form of discrimination, carried out by individuals and groups who choose to attack others because of their own prejudices; those who they may not fully understand or relate to rather than appreciate the value of diversity. Perpetrators generally focus their actions on individuals of differing nationality, race or ethnicity, religious beliefs or faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, and those who may have a visible or non-visible disability. The crimes can be violence based, such as physical or verbal abuse and harm, intimidation and damage to property, but can take other forms too.

Hate crimes are a criminal offence, but they are also harmful to those who are targeted as an attack on their identity. Like bullying, this kind of experience can have long lasting effects on a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Sometimes the act may not necessarily be a crime, but is still a hate incident, and can have equally significant repercussions. There were a staggering 103,379 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2018/19, according to the Home Office. This is a 10% increase on the previous year.

It is important for us all to be aware of hate crimes/incidents and know how to report if we experience or witness them. It is equally as important for those experiencing and witnessing them to that they are not alone, and that support is available. We can report directly to the police on 101, or if there is immediate danger, call 999. There are also a number of additional ways to report crime if calling the police is not a comfortable option, such as via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, which is completely confidential.

Healthwatch Essex Information and Signposting Team can provide you with details of other specialist support services which you can access, appropriate to the individual circumstances, such as Stop The Hate UK, one of the UK’s leading organisations working to challenge hate crimes. Contact us by telephone on 0300 500 1895, text on 07712395398, email info@healthwatchessex.org.uk or use our new live chat facility by clicking the red button on  our homepage. We are here to listen and help you find a way through your health, social care and wellbeing needs.

There should be no place for hate in our society, and we can all take a role in eradicating it.

Sharon

Information & Signposting Lead