Helping hands for victims of hate crime

Published Monday, 16th October 2017
Helping hands for victims of hate crime
Rotherham Council’s Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership, PC Chris Nicholson, Hate Crime Officer, and representatives of REMA and Speakup are pictured marking the launch of the new support arrangements.

As Hate Crime Awareness Week is marked across Britain, victims of hate crime are being given extra support following the launch of a new campaign in Rotherham.

Thanks to funding from the Safer Rotherham Partnership (made up of organisations across the borough on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner), people who have experienced hate crime can now seek help from three support agencies in Rotherham.

Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance (REMA), Speakup and The Rainbow Project will provide dedicated drop-in surgeries for victims of hate crime, specially trained officers who will support individuals with their individual needs, as well as a "Whatsapp" reporting service – a simple and effective way for people to report crimes.

REMA will specifically help those from the faith and race communities, whilst Speakup will support those with disabilities, and The Rainbow Project and will help the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Rotherham Council’s Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership, said: “Prejudice and discrimination because of someone's race, religion, disability or sexual orientation is not acceptable in our borough. This project is about helping people to come forward, to report hateful actions or words that can have a significant impact on them.”

Azizzum Akhtar, of REMA, said: “Hate crimes have a long lasting and significant impact on victims, their friends and family. It causes anxiety, fear and a sense of helplessness. By taking a coordinated approach to reporting of incidents and one to one support to victims, we believe we can have a real impact in dealing with this type of crime.”

Geoff Doncaster, of Speakup, said: “Victims of hate crime can be left feeling alone, isolated and afraid to go out of their own front door. Particularly for people with a learning disability, they may feel less able to tell someone or feel that hate crimes are a part of their life and something they just put up with. By supporting people to report a hate crime and spreading the word about how important it is to tell someone, we hope to shine a light on this problem, and by working together find ways to make it stop.”

Kirsty Fletcher, of the Rainbow Project, which works with Rotherham’s LGBT community, said: “Experiencing hate crime can isolate individuals, exacerbate vulnerabilities, cause divisions and tensions within the society we live in. In order to tackle hate crime we need to ensure we take a coordinated and responsive approach. Every victim of hate crime can be affected differently and as such we need to ensure our response is flexible and reactive whilst also ensuring we are prepared to respond promptly with a service tailored to an individual’s needs. We all have a responsibility to ensure hate crime is tackled effectively and this will be achieved by adopting an innovative approach which is championed by lead organisations. Together we can ensure hate is challenged, raise awareness of the damage caused and facilitate a safe and tolerant community for us all to be part of.”

Rotherham’s hate crime co-ordinator, PC Chris Nicholson, said: “We are proud to support and work alongside our partners to deliver and raise awareness of Rotherham’s new hate crime campaign. Hate is a serious offence that can cause a hurtful impact to both victims and witnesses, and our focus remains working to take action to stop hate, encourage reporting and highlight the support and advice available to everyone. I hope by supporting this campaign, anyone who has been either a victim or witness, will feel confident to report it and help us take action to stop hate.”

October 14 - 21 is National Hate Crime Awareness Week where Hate Crime awareness events will be taking place across the UK and supporters are encouraged to use the hashtag #NHCAW. For more information:

Visit the National Hate Crime Awareness Week website

If you would like any advice, support or further information about hate and the reporting channels available:

Go to the South Yorkshire Police website