• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

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Communities unite as new campaign is launched against hate crime

Organisations across County Durham and Darlington have pledged their support for a new campaign to tackle hate crime.

The Hate Hurts campaign is being led by the area’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg, who has brought together representatives from business, sport, education and the faith communities in a united stance against hate crime.

The high-profile campaign is informing people about hate incidents, encourage victims and witnesses to report it and celebrate initiatives that promote tolerance and cohesion.

Hate Hurts posters and leaflets will be seen across the area and takeaways, pubs and shops are being asked to display window stickers. The campaign is being promoted via a website, hatehurts.co.uk and social media.

Hate crime describes a range of illegal criminal behaviours committed against someone else because of their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or some other perceived difference. It can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, both online and offline, and damage to property.

Ron Hogg, County Durham & Darlington Police, Crime & Victims’ Commissioner, said:
Hate Crime is very unpleasant and can be very traumatic for anyone who experiences it. It’s different from so many other types of crime and incidents because it’s so personal. People are victimised because of who they are, and what they are perceived to be rather than because of something that they’ve done. That’s why tackling Hate Crime has always been a priority for me, in my Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan.

The campaign has already won the backing of local MPs including Kevan Jones and Roberta Blackman-Woods, the Bishop of Durham, the North East Chamber of Commerce, Darlington Football Club, Durham University, New College Durham, BHP Law, the YMCA, churches and schools.

Mr Jones, Member of Parliament for North Durham, said:

Hate Crime is a serious offence, causing significant harm and distress to victims and adversely affecting the cohesion of our society. I welcome Ron Hogg’s new initiative to tackle this scourge and endorse Durham Police’s zero tolerance stance on Hate Crime.”

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, added: “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.”

The number of hate crimes recorded by the police has grown by around a quarter over the past four years with 517 crimes across County Durham & Darlington in 2017-18. Just over 70 per cent were race-related and almost 43 per cent of victims were subjected to violence. The majority of victims – nearly 63 per cent – were male.

Whilst the proportion of recorded hate crime is relatively low compared with other types of crime, police believe the real level may be much higher due to victims’ reluctance to report it.

Mr Hogg added:

Durham Constabulary will look to deal with all victims’ situations and put their views front and centre of everything they do.

“I am also asking the public to stand together to support the message that we will not tolerate hate crime and to stand up for victims. I don’t want people to do nothing any more, I want them to do something.

“Hate crime usually happens in a public place where people witness it. I want those witnesses to call the police and get some assistance for the person being targeted then give as much evidence as possible to support the victim and bring offenders to justice. 

“We all want to live in a safe and tolerant community and we can all play a part in achieving that.”

  • 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

By French