A new 'hotline' to prevent victims of hate crime from suffering in silence was launched this week.
The Hambleton and Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership initiative is a boost to the network of reporting centres established by North Yorkshire Police and the partnership two years ago.
Hate crime can affect anyone at any time - motivated by hate or prejudice of someone because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. It can take many forms including physical attacks, threat of attack including offensive letters or telephone calls and verbal abuse or insults.
"Hate crime is under reported but we want our communities to feel confident in coming forward to talk to us," said Carl Doolan from Broadacres Housing Association which has funded and is supporting the helpline.
"Where possible all crime should be reported directly to the Police, but for some this can be quite daunting. So we hope by having this special hotline number it will give people the confidence to report incidents and receive support from the comfort of their own homes."
Twelve reporting centres were set up in 2010 backed by the library service and a host of groups which support vulnerable people in the two districts.
"Theses centres provide a facility for people who want to talk in a 'community' based environment to get information and find out the actions which can be taken if they perceive that they or someone they know is a victim of hate crime," added Councillor Carl Les, Chair of the Hambleton and Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership.
"Any information you give is valuable, it enables the police to identify areas of concern, patterns of behaviour and could lead to the prosecution of offenders".
The hotline 0845 200 2495 went live on 1 April 2012
Visit the Hate incidents and crime section of our website for information, advice and support.