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Safeguarding Week 2019 – Hate crime – it’s everyone’s business

Last modified: 28 June 2019 at 12:36pm

For the final day of Safeguarding Week 2019, we end the week looking at hate crime.

Safeguarding Week 2019 – Hate crime – it’s everyone’s business

Hate crime causes division and fear. It can escalate from a verbal insult through to the extreme of murder, as the tragic events in New Zealand earlier this year have shown us.

The central message of Safeguarding Week has been “safeguarding is everyone’s business” – we all have a responsibility to stand up to hate crime and report it, to safeguard the most vulnerable in our communities.

Hate crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. In May 2017, North Yorkshire Police added misogyny and misandry to its hate crime policy.

To be clear about the definition, hate crime is exactly that – a crime which has been committed, motivated by hate.

To hate is not in itself a crime. However, if a crime is committed against a person, motivated by a hate of that person’s actual or perceived gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability – it is then recorded as a hate crime. So if a person is assaulted, a crime has been committed. However, if they are assaulted because they are LGBT+ – then a hate crime has been committed.

In 2018 North Yorkshire Police received 551 reports of hate crime, the large majority of which were race hate crimes (63%) , followed by LGBT+ hate crime (17%), religious hate crime (9%), disability hate crime (7.5%) and misogyny/misandry hate crime (2.5%)

Examples of recent successful prosecutions for the force include a man who pleaded guilty to causing racially/religious motivated harassment by using threatening language, when he stated he wanted to drive a van into people that he did not like, because of their race or religious beliefs. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, uplifted from six months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Another man pleaded guilty at court to racially aggravated harassment and breaching a restraining order, after sending racially abusive emails to a police officer and another victim. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, uplifted from nine months and given a 10-year restraining order toward the police officer. His original restraining order against the other victim was also lengthened to 10-years.

Superintendent Mark Khan, North Yorkshire Police lead for hate crime said:

“Being singled out and targeted with verbal or physical abuse, or having your property damaged because of your race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identify is incredibly intimidating. I have seen first-hand the devastating impact hate crime has on its victims and their communities.

“It causes people to live in fear and change their daily behaviour, in the attempt to avoid further unprovoked attacks. It leads to people feeling isolated and helpless, believing abuse is a way of life and they are powerless against the hate which is targeted at them.

“We can’t let this type of behaviour go unnoticed or unchallenged – safeguarding vulnerable people in our communities is everyone’s business.

“So I appeal to individuals and communities to take a stand, and speak out against hate crime. Report any incident you have witnessed to police on 101 or in an emergency dial 999.

“If you don’t want to report to police, you can still seek advice and support by speaking to Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire, information is available on their website www.supportingvictims.org

“The most important thing is to not accept this behaviour and not let it hide within our communities – please report it. By reporting it, we can stop it.”

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