A former international wheelchair fencer helped launch this year’s Greater Manchester hate crime awareness week.
Organisations across the region are working with residents along with community and faith groups to raise awareness of the issue, letting people know what hate crime is and how they can report it.
Adrian Derbyshire, a former international wheelchair fencer who represented his country and has campaigned against hate crime attacks on disabled people, talked about his experiences.
Dozens of groups across the city will hold events throughout hate crime awareness this week to help their communities to understand the issue.
This includes workshops and performances from young people from the Factory Youth Zone, hate crime reporting training sessions with Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, a craft and photography session by the LGBT Foundation.
Manchester People First will be holding an event aimed at increasing understanding and reporting of hate crime against people with learning disabilities, and a presentation will be held by the West Gorton Youth Group.
The city council and GMP are also launching the city’s hate crime strategy, setting out their priorities for tackling the issue over the next three years, after asking residents for their views.
The strategy sets out what the council will do, including working to increase the reporting of hate crime, contributing towards a Greater Manchester wide review of third-party reporting centres where victims can report incidents in neutral settings, and working with the Crown Prosecution Service to support victims.
It also includes actions such as working with perpetrators of hate crime to change their behaviour – using restorative justice schemes in cases where victims are comfortable with this.
Meanwhile, a series of other events will be held elsewhere across Greater Manchester as part of hate crime awareness week:
- In Bolton, local businesses, community groups and mosques will nominate ambassadors who will receive special training. Work is also being done in schools while an online training package has been created.
- In Salford, a schools toolkit is being developed and engagement is taking place with members of the Jewish community.
- In Oldham, two new third-party reporting centres are being launched.
- In Trafford, hate crime stands will be set up across the region providing information to residents and work will take place with Manchester United’s MUFC Foundation.
Manchester City Council along with GMP and the Crown Prosecution Service held the first hate crime awareness week in 2012 but this is the first year it is being held across the entire region.
Transport for Greater Manchester will also be placing adverts around the region’s public transport network as part of the campaign, reminding public transport users that hate crime is not acceptable.
Councillor Paul Andrews, Manchester City Council’s executive member for adult health and wellbeing, said: “Hate crime can take many forms, and anyone can be a victim, but it is never acceptable and has no place in our diverse and thriving city.
“The only way we can tackle hate crime is by working in partnership, and this year an even larger group of organisations across the whole of Greater Manchester are sending out a clear message that it won’t be tolerated.
“Sadly, many victims still don’t have the confidence to come forward, so we will be doing more work to make sure it’s easier for people to report hate crimes and that once they have done they’re supported every step of the way.”
Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Hate crime devastates lives and divides communities. It has no place in Greater Manchester, a region that celebrates diversity and promotes tolerance and inclusivity.
“We have come a long way in Greater Manchester, with police, councils and other organisations, working with local people to challenge hate crime and encourage reporting. This week is a chance to show how far we have come but to also reiterate our commitment to tackling hate crime in all its forms.
Greater Manchester stands together, building strong, inclusive communities with the firm commitment to end hate crime.”
Chief Superintendent at GMP, Wasim Chaudhry, added: “We work extremely hard to raise awareness of these kinds of offences, signpost victims to the most suitable reporting method and stand up to hate in all of its forms, but there is still working to be done.
This awareness week helps up solidify our plans for the next twelve months but also enables us to take a stand against hatred, discrimination and persecution, something that we can all take on as our responsibility.
“Over the last year, 4806 hate crimes or incidents were reported to us, most of which happen as people are going about their daily lives. Anyone who is a victim of a hate crime should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, report online at www.report-it.org or use the True Vision app.”
For a video showing how organisations across Greater Manchester are working together to tackle hate crime visit: https://youtu.be/355EDP-SuRA