Youngsters help stamp out hate crime

Published Wednesday, 12th October 2016
Raising awareness of hate crime
Cllr Hoddinott, Tom Jackson and Ashlea Harvey

Young people are leading the way to stamping out hate crime across Rotherham with training workshops to raise awareness.

As part of this week’s National Hate Crime Awareness week, Rotherham Council’s Youth Cabinet is delivering hate crime training and has also been involved in a national hate crime toolkit with the Youth Parliament.

They are delivering workshops to groups of young people and will also be raising awareness as part of the launch of their manifesto at the Town Hall later this week.

They will also be re-launching their hate crime training toolkit, which they devised last year to help other young people spot the signs of hate crime and know how to report it to the authorities.

Tom Jackson, aged 17, from the Youth Cabinet said: “Hate crime can have devastating impact on people, none more so than young people. If they are victims at an early age, research shows this can have a life-long impact on them and even change their future prospects.

“Our role is to help young people understand this sort of crime has no place in society and should not be tolerated. We are raising awareness that being calle names because of your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability is not acceptable and will be taken seriously by the authorities. At the same time we are raising awareness with young people that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable and you will be punished if you choose to bully and intimidate people.”

The training has already been delivered to the Council’s Young Inspectors who will be making sure all necessary actions are taken around this issue.

Cllr Hoddinott, Cabinet member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, is leading this year’s hate crime awareness raising. She said: “It was really impressive to meet the young people educating their peers in what hate crime is. It's really important people understand the impact of hate crime and that bullying, intimidation and harassment because of who you are is not acceptable.".

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services added: “Hate crime or hate related harassment is rarely a one-off incident. Victims of hate crime are more likely to suffer repeated abuse from the same perpetrator(s) and the most serious cases can lead to tragic consequences.

“That is why it is great to see both the Youth Cabinet and Young Inspectors getting involved like this and leading the way with young people. Raising awareness of hate crime amongst young people will contribute towards changing society’s attitudes towards differences and hopefully reduce the instances of this destructive crime.”

There are new plans nationally to asses of the level of racist, religious and homophobic bullying going on in schools with more guidance on how to report it.

Teachers and students will be given new tools to fight prejudice and hatred and a new programme to equip teachers to facilitate conversations when terrorist incidents happen at home and abroad.

Locally, the Safer Rotherham Partnership partners will be raising awareness of what hate crime is by encouraging people to report it and promoting local support services.

The police can only prosecute when the law is broken but they can work with the Council and other partners to try and prevent any escalation in seriousness.

Anyone who is a victim of a hate crime should ring the police on 101 or in an emergency dial 999.

People can also report through South Yorkshire Police's Operation Solar email address.

Email Operation Solarimage