Sending out a message against hate crime

Councillors Andy Bowden (standing) and Richard McCauley watch comedian Johnny Vegas sign the anti hate crime pledge.
Councillors Andy Bowden (standing) and Richard McCauley watch comedian Johnny Vegas sign the anti hate crime pledge.

We’ve all heard about hate crime, but a major national event this month aims to spell out exactly what it means, how it can affect people – and how we can all help put a stop to it.

St Helens Council is at the forefront of the local push to support this year’s Hate Crime Awareness Week (12 to 19 October). Along with other local agencies and organisations, it’s signed up to a pledge to demonstrate its commitment to raising awareness of the crime - and to send a powerful message that hate crime is not welcome in the borough.

Hate crime is any offence or incident committed against individuals, groups and communities because of who they are.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing, Planning and Community Safety, Councillor Richard McCauley said: “Although the number of incidents involving hate crime in St Helens remains low, it’s something that can have a devastating impact on local communities.

“Being victimised, just because of your race, the country you come from, the religion you follow, your sexual identity or your disability - can be a frightening experience. But with everyone’s help we can make hate crime a thing of the past.”

There are many different forms of hate crime, including:

l Physical assault

l Damage to property

l Arson

l Graffiti

l Threats

l Verbal abuse;

l Bullying

l Obscene telephone calls

Victims are often reluctant to report the crime, due to embarrassment or fear that the report will lead to further attacks. But guidance and support will be provided at every stage to reassure those whop come forward.

And now courts have a duty to treat hate crime offences more robustly than other types of crime due to the effect it can have on victims.

You can report hate crimes to Merseyside Police by calling 101, or alternatively contact the charity Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625 for independent and confidential support.

If your organisation is committed to tackling hate crime, make it public - sign the pledge! Visit: www.safersthelens.org.uk/pledges/hate-crime-pledge/