National Hate Crime Awareness Week (13 – 20 October): Our Advocacy Service supports victims of hate crime
National Hate Crime Awareness Week points the spotlight on hate crime and how we can work together to make our communities safe.
In Newcastle, hate crime has risen dramatically; new reports suggest an increase of 17% to 969 incidents in 2017/18 and police have noted a rise in disability hate crime, whilst around three quarters of all hate crime remains racially motivated. In Gateshead 2016/17, 203 hate crimes were reported to Northumbria Police, up 41% since 2015/16 & 107% since 2015/15.
Yet it is assumed that a lot of hate crime goes unreported. Not everyone feels comfortable calling 101 or 999 to report hate crime and some people may prefer to discuss their options or receive support from an independent advocate.
Advocacy Centre North’s Hate Crime Advocacy service has been supporting victims of hate crime for a year and a half. Our service is funded by Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner.
We offer specialist, independent advocacy for anyone affected by hate crimes or incidents, where they have been targeted on the basis of their:
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
Hate Crimes can include:
- verbal abuse
- physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing or spitting
- threats of violence
- hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, or hate mail
- online abuse, for example on Facebook of Twitter
- displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
- damage to things such as your home, pet or vehicle
- arson (setting fires)
We accept referrals for anyone over 18 in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside and Northumberland.
We provide support to:
- Help you work out what you would like to be done to investigate the hate crime incident/s and arrest the perpetrator. We can assist you in explaining this to the police or other agencies
- Go with you to a meeting with another organisation to support you in explaining what has happened and how you have been affected. This could be the police, your landlord, your employer, your college, transport, health or social services
- Support you in court when/if the perpetrator is prosecuted
- Assist you in requesting services to protect you from future hate crime incidents
- Refer you to organisations that can provide further emotional support for any trauma you are experiencing because of your experience. For example, counselling services
- Help you complain to any services if you are not happy with the action they have taken to investigate hate crime incidents or protect you from future incidents
What to expect when you are referred to our Hate Crime Advocacy service:
- We will contact you by phone to offer you an appointment at either our office in Newcastle, your home or another convenient location
- If you need an interpreter we will book one
- We will see you for about an hour to listen to your experience of hate crime and identify how we can support you
- We will explain what advocacy is and how our confidentiality and data protection policies keep you safe
- We will ask you a few questions about how you feel now so we can find out later if we have been able to make things better for you
- We will try to help you in any way we can to help you deal with the distress and problems that hate crime has caused you and / or your family
Feedback from some of our Hate Crime Advocacy service users:
“The support I got from the advocate was excellent. Thanks to her support the police were able to take some action.”
“Thank you so much for being there and representing me with this stressful matter”
“A very big thank you for your untiring support and for being there for me and my family during our most difficult time in our lives! Although those horrible experiences impacted on general wellbeing, I am now starting to regain back my health gradually. Thank you for all of your support and I will ever remain grateful to all of you.”
“I am pleased I contacted the advocacy service to seek support for my son, she was excellent and raised issues I hadn't thought of.”
To make an enquiry about Hate Crime Advocacy for yourself, or make a referral on behalf of someone else, please complete our online Referral Form , phone us on 0191 235 7013 or email us at email@example.com
We are also leading a programme of workshops through the Community Partnership Against Hate Crime Northumbria. These aim to raise awareness, increase skills and provide tools to challenge beliefs, attitudes, hatred, prejudice and discrimination in order to improve community cohesion, reduce hate crime and tackle the harm and impact on the wider community caused by hate crime. If you would like us to consider providing a workshop as part of the programme please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 0191 235 7013.
Learn more about hate crime awareness week at Stop Hate