Campaign to stamp out hate crime launched
The Northstar Centre for adults with learning disabilities is helping to promote hate crime awareness.
It is hosting an open door event from 10am to 12noon on Wednesday which is open to service users, parents, carers and the general public.
The Northstar Centre is one of the Safe Reporting Centres in North Northumberland and provides a safe and supportive environment for people to report hate crime to police. Incidents can be reported and information accessed.
Meanwhile, school pupils across Northumberland are also being invited to take part in a competition to promote awareness of the issue of hate crime.
The competition called ‘taking action against hate crime’ is being launched as part of the National Hate crime awareness week.
Young people are asked to think about what a hate crime is and how it can affect victims. They are being asked to submit a recording of a song, poem, or enact a scenario to explain what work has been done within school to help them learn about hate crime.
This competition is a joint venture between Northumbria Police and Northumberland County Council.
Community Engagement officers host interactive workshops, question and answer sessions, discussions and school assemblies to help young people understand issues of cultural awareness and tolerance ranging from those with disabilities to include race, faith, sexual orientation and gender.
Schools have until October 31 to submit entries and the class from the winning entry will get a free visit to SafetyWorks! interactive education centre in Newcastle.
The winning entry and the best among the runners up will be used by police and council staff to help educate other youngsters about hate crime and its effects on victims.
Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “Hate Crime awareness week is about engaging with all members of all our communities, to raise awareness and highlight all the support that is on offer throughout the force area.
“I am a firm believer that we should be talking to school children from a very young age, teaching them to celebrate differences. They are our future and we want a future without intolerance and prejudice. This is a great initiative and I wish all those taking part the best of luck.
“I also want to stress the importance of making sure that all victims, young and old, have the confidence to report hate crimes. Nobody should suffer alone – help is at hand.”
Superintendent Nicola Musgrove said: “Hate crime is an issue that affects people of all ages and it’s important that young people fully understand what it is and how they can seek help - if they need to.
“This competition will also help young people gain a more indepth understanding of the issues and it will have a legacy of using the best entries to help educate others during school visits.
“School visits have been an extremely effective way of getting the important message across that targeting anyone because of who they are is not acceptable - this is a hate crime.”
A crime is considered to be a hate crime if anyone believes that someone has been targeted because of a protected characteristic, these include:
race, faith, religion, gender, disability, gender identity, age or sexual orientation. Hate crime and incidents will not be tolerated - We take hate crimes very seriously.
Anyone can report a hate crime – victims, families, carers or someone unrelated to a victim who has been witness to an incident.”
Councillor Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said: “No one should ever be victimised because they have a different faith, gender, sexuality, age or disability. This week is a good opportunity to help young people understand the issues of hate crime and to raise awareness of the range of services out there which can provide help.”
Hate crime can be reported to police using 101 in a non-emergency or 999 in an emergency.
Hate crime can also be reported through non-police agencies such as True Vision (http://report-it.org.uk/home) or ARCH.
Further information on Hate Crime is available on Northumbria Police website.
For more information about National Hate Crime Awareness Week follow @northumbriaPol #StopHate #Weallstandtogether #NHCAW