Leeds bid to stamp out hate crime

Leeds City Council are working with hate crime charities to bring awareness to the rising issue

National Hate Crime awareness week takes place in October every year.

Hate crimes are on the rise in the UK, with almost a 30% increase from 2016, according to Home Office Statistics. This is the largest increase in hate crimes since records began in 2011. Over 3,700 hate crimes were recorded by West Yorkshire police in 2016, with many other crimes likely to be unreported. With such shocking statistics being revealed, the issues that need to be raised during Hate Crime Awareness Week (14 – 21 October), seem more paramount than ever.

Raising Awareness

Stop Hate UK are the leading provider of 24 hour support for those affected by hate crime or speech. Working with Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and Victim Support, they hope to tackle and ultimately bring an end to Leeds based hate crime – which can be verbal, physical or online abuse.

Stop Hate UK pride themselves on working around the clock to help those in need.

Kylie Read, support services team leader of Stop Hate UK, told Leeds Hacks: ” What we’re doing around the country, but also in Leeds, is make people aware of what hate crime is. Whether it is an incident or a crime it still should not be happening. We want to make sure people are getting the right support. Whether they’ve been targeted because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation they should not be treated that way.

“This week is National Hate Crime Awareness week, so we’re just trying to get as much publicity out there as possible. We have an online campaign and are just trying to let people know what support is out there. No matter how big or small it is, we want to know about it, because these things are so under reported.” The charity also offer an app named ‘Stop Hate UK’ which caters specifically towards the West Yorkshire area. It features a panic button in case of an emergency that will connect you directly to the police alongside other useful contacts.

Why are hate crimes on the rise?

Home Office official statistics UK noticed one of the largest nationwide monthly peaks in hate crimes was involving race, with 6,000 crimes having been reported in one month alone. The Home Office said the spike followed the Westminster Bridge attack on 22 March. Figures continued to grow until June as the Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park attacks followed. This was a larger monthly peak than during the EU Referendum in June 2016, which caused a peak of 5.500 hate crimes. However, these are just the crimes that have been reported. It has been discovered that a lot more of the LGBT+ community feel more comfortable coming forward about hate speech and crime compared to other groups that are commonly discriminated against.

Seeking advice?

Stop Hate UK offered their advice on what to do if you are a victim of hate crime.

Council co-operation

After the drastic rise of hate crime within the city over the past few months, Leeds Council Health and Wellbeing board have started a bid to combat the problem. A ‘one city’ approach is being put in place which will aim to tackle unhealthy attitudes within the health and social care sector. New training will mean that all staff must attend mandatory awareness sessions to ensure minority patients get an equal level of care.

Leeds Council Health and Wellbeing Board are aiming for a ‘one city’ approach.

Along with the one city approach to stamp down on hate crime in Leeds, the city council want the public to be aware of the different resources and support they have to offer. The council said on their website: “Hate incident reporting centres have been set up to help people living and working in Leeds who have been the victim of a hate incident.

“The centres can be identified by the hate incident reporting centre signs. The majority are neighborhood housing offices and one stop centres. All information given at a reporting centre is confidential and can be given anonymously.”

Get involved

Stop Hate UK are holding drop in sessions around Leeds all week in honour of Stop Hate awareness week. They are welcoming everyone to join them in the battle against hate and speech crimes.  

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js If you are a victim of hate crime and would like to speak to someone in confidence call: Stop Hate UK 24 hour helpline 0800 138 1625 or visit www.nationalhcaw.uk

By Samantha Levene and Haley Welsh

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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