Victims of hate crime given more opportunities to report incidents
Victims of hate crime are being given more opportunities to report incidents in confidence as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the problem.
A network of third party reporting centres is being expanded across Manchester at the start of the annual hate crime awareness week, organised by Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police and other organisations.
The centres are safe and neutral locations within the city’s communities where victims who have been targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability can report incidents to trained staff who are able to provide support as well as passing on details to the police.
Managers from the centres, which range from workplaces to community centres, are being invited to a special event launching hate crime awareness week, at Manchester Town Hall on Monday January 20.
They will be praised for their efforts in helping combat the issue and given certificates confirming they have signed up to a new series of standards, drawn up by the City Council and GMP, stating they must provide staff with ongoing training about hate crime, provide a safe and confidential environment for people to report incidents, and advise victims about other services available.
All existing centres must now agree to these standards, while 25 agencies have either signed up to become a third party reporting centre or indicated that they will do so.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said,
The impact of hate crime extends far beyond the initial incident. By their very nature, hate crimes are very personal attacks that leave victims, who are often already vulnerable individuals, feeling defenceless physically and emotionally. Because of this, victims may be reluctant to report the crime or – worse still – may come to accept hate crime as an inevitable part of their lives.
It’s never acceptable, and people should never be afraid to report it. Ultimately, we want to stamp out hate crime completely, but there is a long road between here and there. By expanding Manchester’s network of third-party reporting centres we’re providing more opportunities for victims to report hate crime and taking another step closer to making it a thing of the past.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd
Councillor Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “For us to make sure that hate crime has no place in Manchester, it’s vital that we work closely with residents. That includes increasing the number of third party reporting centres, where people can report incidents in a safe and neutral setting, as well as ensuring the service provided at these centres is the best it can be.
“Building upon the success of last year, we are continuing to work with communities and this year more than 60 events are taking place across the city.”
Darren Knight, head of policy and engagement at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, said: “The LGF has been a third party reporting centre for over 15 years. Every day we deal with a range of enquiries and people coming in to our centre for a range of issues, and hate crime and incidents remain a significant problem for our community.
“As we’re available from 10am – 10pm every day, we aim to ensure that it’s a simple as possible for people to report incidents and we can offer additional support through our range of services.
“We work closely with GMP and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure that our community knows that no incident of hate is acceptable and should always be reported.”
Hate crime awareness week
Meanwhile, more than 60 residents’ groups across the city will hold events throughout hate crime awareness week to help their neighbours understand the issue.
The events, which have been supported by the City Council with GMP and the Police and Crime Commissioner, include:
- The Butterflies drop in and community café, which represents the transgender community, will hold an event including poetry and case history workshops at their city centre headquarters.
- The Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust will hold stalls at A and E departments at MRI to raise awareness about the issue of hospital staff and patients experiencing hate crime.
- Whalley Range based Community on Solid Ground will hold a rap workshop and other arts events to help young people understand what hate crime is and how it can be challenged.
- The MaD Theatre Company will hold a drama workshop about hate crime with students at Manchester Communication Academy in Harpurhey.
- Manchester Mencap will be holding a series of events across Manchester including a play, workshops, and drop-ins to raise awareness of people being targeted because of their disability.
- Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation will be holding an event aimed at women of all ages from the Bangladeshi community and other ethnicities.
- The Mancunian Way charity will hold sessions at Gorton Lads Club including role play and video clips about hate crime.
Manchester City Council, along with GMP and the Crown Prosecution Service, held the first hate crime awareness week last year, but organisers have begun working with a much larger number of groups across the city since then.
Transport for Greater Manchester will also be placing adverts around the region’s public transport network as part of the campaign, reminding public transport users that hate crime is not acceptable.