The Police and Crime Commissioner is encouraging groups and organisations to improve their understanding of hate crime and be able to signpost victims to support, this Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Following a £54,000 investment from the PCC, Victim Support will deliver the ‘I am me’ training and awareness programme across West Mercia’s communities. The sessions will be aimed at a variety of organisations including schools, the police, safeguarding partners, local authorities, community safety partnerships, community groups and to those in the private sector such as the leisure and hospitality.
The sessions are aimed at instilling confidence in those who feel apprehensive about reporting hate crimes, and helping professionals to recognise, respond and report. They will also raise awareness of the support that is available, through various channels and opportunities to see Restorative Justice.
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**.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said “Being a victim of a hate crime can have a hugely detrimental impact. Being targeted for who you are, sets hate crime and its effects apart from most other types of crime.
Tackling hate crime needs a community wide approach, and I am proud to invest in awareness, support and education which ultimately help to build confidence in victims and help bring perpetrators to justice.”
Christopher Hodson, Senior Operations Manager at Victim Support said “At Victim Support, we provide vital services across West Mercia, to anyone affected by hate crime. We offer a wraparound service, with support provided by our specialist Independent Victim Advocates, Volunteers, and Restorative Justice team. The way in which we respond to anyone targeted because of their identity, is a crucial factor in helping them to cope with what has happened, or what could still be happening. It will also have a huge impact on their confidence to report.
This hate crime investment allows us to educate the police and professionals, on the importance of their response, reporting options, and what support is available to victims. It also gives us the opportunity to work closely with communities that could be affected by hate crime, to ensure they are aware of their rights, as per the victims code of practice, and instil confidence in them to report, and access support services.”