Jim Battle and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation working with schools at our Young People’s Hate Crime Conference.
Every high school and college in Greater Manchester is to receive information about hate crime.
The initiative is a key recommendation contained in a report, published today, on hate crime which followed a major conference on the subject for young people in Greater Manchester. The conference, report and initiative have all been organised by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd.
Among the other recommendations in the report is to encourage schools to become reporting centres for hate crime, which means that young people who are victims of hate crime can report it without going directly to police.
Last year, Greater Manchester police recorded more than 3,500 incidents of hate crime, although this is believed to be just the tip of the iceberg.
“Any crime perpetrated against an individual just because of who they are can have devastating consequences. In fact, hate crime destroys people’s lives and has no place in our society.
“Young people are often victims of hate crime, but they also have a vital role to play in helping stamp it out completely. It’s important that we ensure that young people have information about hate crime, what to do about it and – crucially – get the message across that they are not alone.” Tony Lloyd
The report also gives an insight into young people’s understanding of hate crime, what they think police are doing to address it and what more needs to be done to eliminate it from the streets of Greater Manchester.
Its conclusions are based on a conference that took place Manchester in March, attended by 135 pupils from schools across Greater Manchester. The aim of the conference was to inform and educate young people on the damages of hate crime, and provide more information on how to report it to the police. At the same time, the conference provided the police with an unprecedented insight into how young people viewed a crime with potentially fatal consequences.
The pupils were given an emotional talk by Sylvia Lancaster, who spoke passionately about the murder of her daughter Sophie – murdered simply for being a ‘goth’. Other presentations and workshops helped empower young people to take action if they witness or are subjected to hate crime.
“This year’s conference showed that we have made progress in addressing discrimination and tackling hate crime. We still have a lot of work to do though to ensure that young people realise the impact hate crime can have on the individual, and the hurt and emotional distress it can cause.
“Better awareness and information is required not only for schools and young people but for people of all ages to ensure that everyone knows to come forward and report it.
“For our part, the police and public services also have to make sure that, when it is reported, action is taken. We have to stand together as a community to say an emphatic no to hate crime.” Tony Lloyd