Definition of hate crime
Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’
Crimes based on hostility to age, gender, or appearance, for example, can also be hate crimes, although they are not part of the five centrally monitored strands
(An Overview of Hate Crime in England and Wales, Dec 2013)
Hate crime on Merseyside, as it is nationally, is a serious concern and poses a threat to cohesive and strong local communities
Our experience informs us that not all incidents are reported to the police and/ or any other agencies. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case, the most common reason being because the victim believed that the police would not or could not do much about it. Irrespective of whether an incident is reported to the police, AWF and all partners are encouraging individuals experiencing hate crime to tell someone. Merseyside has support organisations such as AWF, Daisy UK, Armistead, Victim Support and many others that can offer assistance
Local authorities can also provide assistance as well as housing offices, One Stop shops etc. Unless an individual reports an incident has taken place it is difficult to stop the offending behaviour.
A Collective Response to Hate Crime
The Foundation works alongside statutory, voluntary and community organisations to support individuals and families who experience and/ or witness hate crimes and incidents.
Hate crimes and incidents can range from name-calling to assault, threats to criminal damage, and in the most extreme cases the death of an individual. Is verbal abuse less harmful than physical assault? The simple answer is no. The extent of the harm and the impact is largely down to the individual on the receiving end of the offence.
How an individual responds when they are singled out for such victimisation is particular to the individual themselves. Some individuals develop coping strategies, some find it harder to cope and their vulnerability heightens. One may choose to deal with such issues on their own, others will actively seek support.
As with all similar support agencies who respond to individuals affected by hate crimes, we aim to offer emotional support, practical assistance and provide information to anyone requesting help. Key to our approach is listening and gaining an understanding of what has happened, to work alongside the individual/ family to discuss options and the best way forward, and to ensure a sense of ‘normality’ is restored as quickly as possible.
If you live in the Merseyside area, Merseyside Police’s Sigma teams can be contacted on 101 to report an incident. The Sigma teams are a dedicated unit of officers whose role it is to respond to and investigate hate crimes and/ or incidents. In emergencies you should always call 999.
Alternatively you can contact the AWF’s support line on our freephone number 0800 876 6646 during office hours.
We recognise the importance of making a stand against discrimination and any form of hate crime, and challenging those individuals who commit such offences. Diverse communities that accept difference create stronger communities and enrich the lives of those who see the value of it.
If you are a victim of hate crime, or have been affected by a hate crime the Foundation can support you
Hate Crime on Public Transport: Merseytravel/ Stop Hate UK
Merseytravel are aware that Hate Crime of all kinds is particularly offensive and want to do all they can to identify any Hate Crime incidents so that effective measures can be put in place to address them.
The TravelSafe partnership works together with Stop Hate UK as part of an initiative to combat Hate Crime on public transport. Stop Hate UK provide a confidential and independent third party reporting system for people who experience or witness a Hate Crime while using public transport in the region.
Victims and witnesses can contact Stop Hate UK to report Hate Crimes, access support and get information by phone on 0800 138 1625, by SMS on 07717 989 025 or online at Stop Hate UK.