Disability hate crime in the spotlight during awareness week
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“Help not hate” is the key message from organisations in North Yorkshire and the City of York as they mark Hate Crime Awareness Week 2023.
The national campaign runs from 14 to 21 October, encouraging local authorities, key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together to tackle it.
Throughout the week, there will be a focus on raising awareness of hate crime in all its forms, but particularly disability hate crime.
Disability hate crimes are acts which target a victim because of the offender’s hostility to a disabled person or disabled people in general. All hate crimes, including disability hate crime, are treated extremely seriously by the police, and when such cases are prosecuted, the courts can impose a stronger sentence.
Supported by the Safeguarding Adults Boards, Safeguarding Children Partnerships and Community Safeguarding Partnerships, the organisations involved in Hate Crime Awareness Week aim to build trust and confidence to report hate crime, promote a diverse and inclusive workforce and community, and raise awareness of support services available to victims of hate crime.
There will be a series of webinars and face-to-face events aimed at professionals – covering topics as varied as the understanding of autism and sensory disorders to inspiring an inclusive approach to everyday life.
In addition, a series of engagement events across York and North Yorkshire will take place, including visits to schools and community groups, and stands at supermarkets and market places. Details will be shared on social media, including on X with the hashtags #HelpNotHateNY and #DisabledNotInvisible
There will also be a ‘flash mob’-style event at Northallerton Town Hall on Wednesday 18 October at 11am which members of the public are invited to attend.
Chief Superintendent Catherine Clarke, Chair of North Yorkshire Community Safety Partnership, said: “Everyone who lives, works and visits York and North Yorkshire has the right to feel safe, without facing hatred or discrimination.
“We all have a responsibility to stand against hate crime – and we can all play our part, whether it’s by encouraging reporting, improving an organisational response or taking action to prevent further incidents.
“The police treat hate crime extremely seriously all year round, but national Hate Crime Awareness Week is an opportunity to reinforce the message that hate crime has no place here.”
The leader of North Yorkshire Council, Cllr Carl Les, said: “As a new council, we recognise that we all have a role to play in tackling hate crime and discrimination in our communities as we believe that anyone who lives or works in North Yorkshire should always feel safe and be treated with dignity and respect.
“We have a shared commitment to tackle hate crime in all forms and work closely with our community safety partners to raise awareness, provide training and support to those who need it and to aim to meet our objectives of promoting equality and inclusion.”
Cllr Michael Pavlovic, Executive Member for Safer Communities at City of York Council, said: “Knowing how to recognise hate crime and how to report it is key to tackling and ending it. We’re committed to standing up against hate because we and our partners want to build a fairer city where everyone feels valued. I’m pleased to support this campaign to build inclusivity and urge everyone to find out more and act against hate crime.”
Odette Robson, Head of Community Safety and CCTV for North Yorkshire Council, and Chair of the Inclusive Communities Joint Coordinating Group, said: “It is fantastic to see that how this campaign continues to grow year-on-year, demonstrating how partners work together in tackling hate crime and promoting equality and inclusion.
“The multi-agency Inclusive Communities Joint Coordinating Group brings together organisations and agencies across North Yorkshire and York to raise awareness and support those in need and this is highlighted through the week of training and engagement events.”
Zoë Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire and said: “Hate Crime Awareness Week is being marked across York and North Yorkshire over the next few days, and as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner I’d like to wholeheartedly lend my support to all those planning and attending events across both our region and the country as a whole.
“North Yorkshire has always been proud of its diversity, and our organisation will always be committed to supporting rights and representation for minority groups as we hold the Police and Fire Services to account.”
North Yorkshire Police has a dedicated webpage for reporting hate crime.