Calderdale Council is backing National Hate Crime Awareness Week (Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 October 2019) to encourage people to come together to say no to hate crime.
The week of action aims to raise awareness of hate crime, support those affected and remember those we have tragically lost as a result of this terrible offence.
The Home Office defines hate crime as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or other people, to be motivated by prejudice against them because of a personal characteristic. This could be their race or ethnicity; religion or beliefs; disability; gender or gender identity or sexual orientation.
In support of the awareness week, the Council is hosting a ‘tackling hate crime’ seminar and workshops on Wednesday 16 October at Calderdale College in Halifax from 10am to 3pm.
People are encouraged to attend to find out more about what hate crime is; the impacts it has on victims, families and communities; how to deal with it and what support is available for those affected. Agencies will discuss best practice and learn how to introduce changes locally. The event has been supported by Together Housing, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Calderdale College. To register, visit eventbrite – tackling hate crime seminar(external link).
The key speaker at the event will be Sylvia Lancaster, mother of Sophie Lancaster who was murdered in Rossendale in 2007 due to her lifestyle choice. Sylvia was awarded an OBE for her work on community cohesion and tackling hate crime through education.
Other speakers will include Caroline Jones, Chair of Calderdale Hate Crime Partnership; Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader; Zohrah Zancudi, the Council’s Director of Public Services; John Rees, Principal and Chief Executive of Calderdale College; Gerry Wareham, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Yorkshire & Humberside; Paul Giannasi OBE, Police Hate Crime Policy Lead at National Police Chiefs’ Council; and West Yorkshire Police.
Cllr Faisal Shoukat, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Cohesion, said:
“One of Calderdale’s strengths is its diversity, which makes it a socially, culturally and economically vibrant place. We have a zero tolerance approach to any form of hate crime. It can have devastating impacts on individuals and whole communities, and no one should suffer in silence. That’s why we urge people to report any hate incident that they may have experienced or witnessed, to ensure support can be given, so that action can be taken against perpetrators where appropriate, and to help make our communities safer for everyone.”
The Council works with other organisations, such as West Yorkshire Police, local voluntary groups and faith groups to help strengthen community cohesion across the borough, nurturing mutual respect, empathy and kindness and tackling any issues relating to inequalities. Kindness and caring for others is a key part of the Vision2024 for Calderdale – the strategy that sets out where we want to take the borough over the next few years in the run-up to its 50th birthday in 2024.
To support victims of hate crime, Calderdale has an established Hate Crime Partnership made up of a number of agencies committed to ensuring hate crimes are dealt with in line with policy. The Partnership meets on a quarterly basis to identify any trends, ensure appropriate support is available for victims and appropriate action is taken against those that perpetrate the hate crime, thereby increasing the confidence of communities to report incidents.
Partners include Calderdale Council, West Yorkshire Police, Calderdale College, Together Housing, Citizens Advice Calderdale, West Yorkshire Victim Support, CPS Yorkshire & Humberside, Brunswick Centre, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Restorative Justice and West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.
The Chair of the Partnership, Caroline Jones, said:
“We have an established partnership that is committed to ensuring appropriate support is made available. Not only will victims get the necessary support they need to overcome the effects of the hate crime through the partnership, we will also ensure that where possible, action is taken against individuals or groups that perpetrate these crimes.”
In Calderdale an Independent Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel examines randomly selected hate crime cases to ensure that they have been dealt with effectively. Members of the panel including local residents, the Council and local Police officers come together every eight weeks to scrutinise how the Police has responded to hate crime/incident reports.
A range of businesses and other venues across Calderdale are in the ‘Safe Place’ scheme (identified by logos / posters on the premises), offering support to vulnerable people if they experience any incident whilst out and about. Search for ‘Safe Place scheme’ at www.calderdale.gov.uk for more information and a list of venues.
Get involved in National Hate Crime Awareness Week using the hashtags #NationalHCAW and #WeStandTogether on Twitter.
How to report hate crime
Anyone who has witnessed or is a victim of hate crime can contact the Police on 999 in an emergency, on 101 at any other time (available 24 hours a day) or via West Yorkshire Police’s online reporting form(external link).
Hate crime can also be reported in confidence at one of the third party hate incident reporting centres which are listed at www.calderdale.gov.uk
Alternatively, you can report the incident online via the True Vision website: www.report-it.org.uk/home(external link)