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Increasing reporting and raising awareness of hate crime, will be the focus of a new initiative funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner and delivered by Victim Support.

Hate crime reporting has more than doubled in West Mercia in the last five years, yet incidents are still vastly unreported. It is recognised that victims of hate crime are significantly affected, and more likely to commit suicide, lose their homes and jobs and suffer mental health problems.

The £54,000 investment will allow Victim Support to deliver 30 awareness sessions to organisations including schools, the police, local authorities, community groups and to those in the private sector such as the leisure and hospitality. They will also attend 12 outreach community events over the next year.

The sessions will support those who may feel apprehensive about reporting hate crimes, and professionals working with them, helping them recognise, respond and report. They will also raise awareness of the support that is available and opportunities to see Restorative Justice.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said “The experience of hate crime is often life-changing. Being targeted for who you are, sets hate crime and its effects apart from most other types of crime.

This investment shows my commitment to giving victims the confidence to come forward, knowing that they will be supported to cope, recover and restore.”

Val Hamilton, Victim Support Area Lead said “Hate crime, unlike non-identity related offences, are very personal and specifically targeted. It’s driven by prejudice and hate for an aspect of a person’s identity. This is what makes it particularly frightening as it’s not likely to be a random attack. What’s more, the impact of hate crime ripples through communities and society, creating disparity and tensions.

This is why we’re not only looking to improve support to those who have experienced hate crime and seek redress through Restorative Justice, but also aim to increase awareness of hate crime and its impact with West Mercian communities. It is a privilege to be able to bring this new service to West Mercia with the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner.”

Victim Support are appointing 2 Hate Crime Training and Engagement Officers. For more information and to apply click below:

Hate Crime Post (Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin)

Hate Crime Post (Worcestershire and Herefordshire)

Annual figures of number of hate crimes reported to West Mercia Police:

 

15/16 = 924

16/17 = 1270

17/18 = 1398

18/19 = 1263

19/20 = 1547

20/21 = 1526

21/22 = 2248

 

9% of victims surveyed said they suffered from depression following a crime. However, in crimes where hate was a motivation the number reporting depression rose to 18%. (Crime Survey of England and Wales)