Date11 October 2022
National Hate Crime Awareness Week is running from 8-15 October across the UK, with the aim of shining a light on the scourge of hate crime. The week-long campaign founded in 2009, encourages Government, the Police, local councils, charities, and communities affected by hate incidents, to work together to tackle local hate crime across the UK. According to the organisers, it “aims to bring people together to stand in solidarity with those affected by hate crime, to remember those we have lost, and support those who need ongoing support.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Andy Dunbobbin has given the campaign his full backing and is holding a series of events to mark the week and to engage with different communities across the region affected by hate crime.
On October 3, the PCC visited the GISDA base in Caernarfon for their LGBTQ+ Youth Club. GISDA is a charity founded in 1985 that provides intensive support and offers opportunities to vulnerable young people aged between 14 and 25 years old in North Wales. They also have bases in Pwllheli and Blaenau Ffestiniog. As part of its work, it supports LGBTQ+ young people who need advice, information and support. While at the Youth Club session, Andy Dunbobbin heard directly from the young people about their experiences of hate crime in school and the wider community, and how this has affected them.
On October 11, Andy Dunbobbin is speaking at an event on ‘Exploring the Barriers to Reporting Hate Crime’. Organised with North Wales Police, the Wales Hate Support Centre at Victim Support, and the North Wales Community Cohesion Teams, this hour-long session will see speakers come together with members of the public to explore the barriers to reporting hate crime within the communities of North Wales. It will include insights from services working directly with victims and look at what can be done within communities, and by service providers, to enable the best support to be offered to victims and to encourage reporting.
Then, on October 14, Mr Dunbobbin is in Rhyl for the unveiling of a series of electronic advertising billboards encouraging people to report hate crime. The boards have been designed by North Wales Police and feature members of the local community holding up signs of their own design under the slogan #HateHurts. The designs have been created using funding from the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office. The #HateHurts campaign aims to spread the message that any type of hate crime is not acceptable, and North Wales Police, as well as local communities, are taking a stand against it.
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales commented: “Hate Crime has no place in North Wales. I am determined to show victims that I stand with them, and perpetrators that their prejudice will not be tolerated. I am proud of the work being done by North Wales Police, in partnership with organisations across North Wales, to reach out to our local communities. Hate crime particularly affects disabled people, black and minority ethnic people and LGBTQ+ people. We take their safety and security seriously. This Hate Crime Awareness Week, I encourage anyone who has suffered a hate incident to report it, so we can act on it.”
Lyndsey Thomas, Head of Development, GISDA, commented: “GISDA has had a good partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office for many years and we have received funding from the PACT grant towards our LGBTQ+ club. As a charity supporting disadvantaged young people, we see first-hand that it is vital that hate crime is taken and handled seriously to ensure that people feel safe and respected within their communities, but also that they find trust in the system. The work during Hate Crime Awareness Week is important but continuing to raise awareness after the week is over is essential.
“The PCC and his office have always been very supportive of our work, and we appreciate that they took their time to listen to the voices of young people and those who have been victim of hate crime.”
PC Richard Fishlock, Diversity Officer/Hate Crime Officer in North Wales Police’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team said: “Since joining the EDI team last year, I have witnessed some of the impact and devastation hate crime has inflicted on individuals and communities.
“A personal attack on someone for simply being who they are can be damaging, leaving victims confused and usure what to next. The use of campaigns and engagement within communities is extremely vital to send a clear and consistent message to victims on where to report matters, while also sending a message to offenders this behaviour is not tolerated. Community engagement also allows the building of police relations and I feel lucky to be able to work with victims and partners trying to improve individuals’ experiences, wellbeing and journey while going through any investigation or report.”
A hate incident is one in which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
If you need to report a hate crime you can contact North Wales Police by calling 101 (if you are in North Wales) or for information on other ways to report (including third party and anonymous reporting) go to the North Wales Police website. Further information about hate crime can be found on the equality pages of the Force website. Reports can be made to police via third party reporting agencies like Victim Support. These agencies assist those who would prefer not to deal directly with Police.
Remember if it’s an emergency always dial 999. Hate Crime is wrong. Don’t suffer in silence. Report it.