A campaign to raise awareness about hate crime has officially concluded with an appeal from the Bishop of Durham for tolerance and kindness.
The Hate Hurts campaign has helped to inform and educate people across County Durham and Darlington about the harm caused by targeting people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or some other perceived difference.
Led by Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg it has won support from MPS, business, schools, colleges and the university, youth groups, employers, law enforcement, councils, sport and churches.
The campaign messages of tolerance and cohesion will continue to be promoted across the area as one of Mr Hogg’s principal missions.
In particular, he wants victims and witnesses of hate crime to report it so that police have a true picture of the level of hate incidents and can develop strategies for tackling it in now and in the future.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, was an early supporter of the campaign and has helped to spread the message.
He said: “Speaking or acting hatefully of others is simply wrong. It is unacceptable in any society where respect and care for one another is valued.
“I trust this campaign will help us all to speak well of, and act kindly towards, one another.”
Others in the faith community have also backed the campaign.
Revd David Tully, Rector of St Mary and St Cuthbert Church, Chester-le-Street, and Club Chaplain to Chester-le-Street and Durham City Football Club, said: “We are right to greatly value freedom in our country, respecting people who are different from us. Hate, however it is expressed, threatens that freedom.”
Hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, both online and offline, and damage to property.
Mr Hogg said: “Recent incidents around the world are at the extreme end of hate and demonstrate the terrible harm that can be caused when people allow bigotry and prejudice to infiltrate their communities.
“It is incumbent upon us all to be aware of hate, to prevent it from growing and to show respect and understanding to one another. We will continue to gather support to emphasise the message that hate will not be tolerated in County Durham and Darlington.”
Hate Hurts posters and leaflets can be seen across the area and takeaways, pubs and shops have been asked to display window stickers. The campaign website is www.hatehurts.co.uk
- To report a hate crime, visit report-it.org.uk, call 101 or 999 in an emergency.
- To follow the Hate Hurts campaign, visit hatehurts.co.uk, on Facebook @PCC.Durham and on Twitter @DurhamPCC