South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings has once again added his support to the National Hate Crime Awareness Week and actively encourages victims to come forward and report hate crime.
National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs 9-16 October 2021 and the campaign aims to bring people together to stand in solidarity with those affected by hate crime, and help those who need ongoing support. It is a week that encourages organisations, key partners, and communities to work together to tackle local hate crime and minimise its effects.
This week is an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of what hate crime is and to encourage victims to come forward and report any hate crimes or hate incidents that they have suffered or witnessed.
Dr Billings has today (Wednesday) visited the South Yorkshire Police Hate Crime Coordinator event in Barnsley town centre to help raise awareness of hate crime and the importance of reporting it. Throughout the week a number of these events are taking place across South Yorkshire and Dr Billings is joining other organisations in promoting awareness across his social media channels.
Hate crime not only has a harmful effect on its victims by attacking who they are as individuals because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity, but also on their families and communities. It includes online and verbal abuse as well as physical assaults.
Throughout the year Dr Billings and his team are out and about in communities talking to groups and individuals about policing and crime across South Yorkshire. A key part of his engagement work is undertaken with different ethnic minority communities and under-represented groups. This provides an opportunity to raise the importance of reporting hate crime and hate incidents.
It is widely understood that hate crime is underreported by victims – often because they are unaware of their rights and the support that is available to them.
Dr Billings urges anyone who has experience hate crime to come forward and report it: “Hate crime should not be tolerated in our communities and I am committed to do everything I can to help and provide support to victims.
“I am pleased that we are seeing more people with the confidence to come forward and report hate crimes, however I believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
“A hate crime maybe verbal, physical or online and the victim can suffer physical injuries, mental and/or enduring emotional trauma, and ultimately leave many feeling unsafe in their homes or going about their daily business.
“I want victims to know that hate crime is a serious offence and there is support available to anyone who needs it. No one should ever fear being abused or discriminated against for who they are.”
“This is why Hate Crime Awareness Week across the county remains as important as ever.
“My message is clear – that hate crime will not be tolerated and it does not have a place in our society.”
There are many ways victims of hate crime can report these to South Yorkshire Police.
You can call 101, or in an emergency call 999. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired you can textphone 18001 101 or SMS 07786 220 022. You can also report Hate online using SYP’s crime reporting portal, which is available at: www.smartcontact.southyorkshire.police.uk/
As well as the police you can report hate to other agencies if you prefer. Please bear in mind this information will be passed on to us to enable us to investigate. There are also many third party reporting centres that operate across the region, and lists of those based in your area can be found at: www.southyorkshire.police.uk/find-out/crime-prevention-advice/hate-crime/
Stop Hate UK are one of the leading national organisations working to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination in the UK and have just launched a helpline service for South Yorkshire. They are also behind the week-long campaign.
For more information on National Hate Crime Awareness Week, visit: www.stophateuk.org/hate-crime-awareness-week/