Taking a stand against hate in Sefton

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Victims of hate crime in Sefton will be urged not to suffer in silence during an awareness-raising event being held in the borough this week.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Merseyside Police, Sefton Council and Sefton Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) have joined forces to host the event, which is designed to raise awareness of hate crime and encourage victims to speak out.

The event, which is being held at Sing Plus on Cambridge Road in Seaforth on Tuesday 19th May, will showcase the work being done by the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, and Merseyside Police and partners to tackle hate crime by raising awareness and increase reporting.

It will also focus on the support available to victims through the Council and Sefton CVS and highlight the different ways victims can report incidents of abuse, intimidation and hate, both to the police and independently to Stop Hate UK. National charity Stop Hate UK have been commissioned by the Police Commissioner to provide a 24/7 helpline and support service for all victims of hate crime on Merseyside.

The event is open to all and there will be the opportunity for participants to voice their views on the current services and share their experiences of reporting hate crime.

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Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “When I was campaigned to be elected as Commissioner, I heard time and time again stories of people suffering awful incidents of hate and abuse, yet all too often they were suffering in silence.

“So when I took office, I pledged to increase the reporting of hate crime and I made tackling hate crime one of my policing priorities. Merseyside Police takes hate crime extremely seriously and has dedicated units and specially-trained officers to support victims. I would reassure anyone who has been affected that if they come forward they will be listened to, believed and helped.

“For those victims who still do not feel confident enough, for whatever reason, to contact Merseyside Police, I would urge them to get in touch with Stop Hate UK.

“Stop Hate UK have been providing a 24/7 service for victims for nearly a year now and reports of hate crime across Merseyside have gone up significantly, but there is still much more that can be done.

“Reports of hate crime in Sefton remain noticeably low, so we want to send out the message that if people have been affected by hate crime or, maybe, are even living with incidents of hate day to day, please speak out – there is help and support available.”

Merseyside Police’s Community Engagement Chief Inspector Paddy Kelly said: “Merseyside Police takes hate crime extremely seriously. We have specially-trained officers with experience in dealing with all types of hate crime. Hate crimes are under-reported, but I want to reassure victims that reporting it doesn’t mean you will have to go to court – there are other ways to deal with it.

“The police always want to hear about these types of incidents. However, if for whatever reason, you don’t feel able to report directly to the police, you can report hate crime through the national charity Stop Hate UK. You decide what happens to the information you provide and what level of help you would like to receive such as the services provided by Victim Support.

“Third Party reporting to organisations such as Sefton Council and Sefton CVS helps to encourage people to report hate incidents and crimes to organisations other than the police. There are various reasons that prevent people from reporting crimes and incidents directly to the police. The decision may be based on perceptions and expectations, or other factors such as the accessibility or distance to a police station.

“We also have a number of other third party reporting centres across Merseyside, such as fire stations, citizen advice bureaus and hospitals. This gives people access to someone independent if they feel more comfortable discussing their issues with someone outside the police.

“All forms of hate crime are a force priority and we will continue to work hard to make sure people don’t suffer in silence and have the confidence to report it. I’d also like to take this opportunity to reassure every community that we serve across Merseyside that we do take this crime extremely seriously and that it will be dealt with sensitively and, when necessary, robustly.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Environment, added: “Working very closely with our many partners we are keen to stamp out any form of hate crime across the borough.

“We have supported a number of initiatives to help tackle hate crime and have recently teamed up with Merseyside Police to develop a network of 3rd Party Reporting Centres and provide training for staff.

“This is a further example of providing help and advice to anyone who is a victim of hate crime and shows that there is a network of support out there so people don’t have to suffer in silence.”

The event will run from 10am to 3pm and the feedback from the day will be used to help the Commissioner, police, council and CVS continue to improve the service they offer.

Sefton CVS Equalities Lead, Thomasina Afful, said: “Sefton CVS is proud to work alongside the Office of the PCC, Merseyside Police and Sefton Council in raising awareness of the types of hate crime that we are working to eradicate, and what kind of support is out there for victims and families”.

“We are also pleased to say that our Sefton CVS main office in Waterloo is now a third party hate crime reporting centre, and we hope this encourages victims to come forward and report these incidents.”

For more information, please contact the Commissioner’s Community Engagement Officer for Sefton Jennie Currie on (0151) 777 5154 or [email protected]


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