Anthony Walker Foundation Hate Crime Support Service
Definition of hate crime
In 2007, the Police Service, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Prison Service (now the National Offender Management Service) and other agencies that make up the criminal justice system agreed a common definition of ‘hate crime’ and five ‘strands’ that would be monitored centrally.
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.’
The five monitored strands are:
• sexual orientation
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. Crime Survey England & Wales 2013 reported the recorded number of hate crime offences in 2012/13 reported was 42,236 with race being the motivating factor in 85% of the recorded figures.
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, the Foundation and all partners are encouraging individuals affected by hate crime to tell someone. Merseyside has support organisations such as AWF, Daisy UK, Victim Support and many others that can offer assistance without sharing personal details if that is the wish of the victim.
Local authorities can also provide assistance as well as housing offices, One Stop shops etc. The message we are emphasising is that 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, the Foundation aims to offer emotional support, practical assistance and provide information to anyone who comes forward for 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 on 0151 237 3974 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.