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  1. ITV Report

Rise in hate crimes against children with many 'suffering in silence'

Photo: PA

Hundreds of children in the East have become victims of hate crimes in the last two years purely because of the colour of their skin or their religion

Nationally there was a 14 per cent increase in hate crimes against children in one year, with 5,349 hate crimes with a racial, religious or faith- based element in 2016/17.

The figures were released by charities Childline and the NSPCC.

Here are the number of hate crimes with a racial, religious or faith-based element recorded against children in the East over last two years

  • 258 crimes were reported to Essex Police
  • 227 crimes were reported to Thames Valley Police
  • 144 crimes were reported to Cambridgeshire Police
  • 93 crimes were reported to Bedfordshire Police
  • 91 crimes were reported to Hertfordshire Police
  • 72 crimes were reported to Norfolk Police
  • 51 crimes were reported to Suffolk Police

It comes as Childline launches its new 'Understand Me' campaign amid fears children are suffering in silence from physical bullying, verbal abuse, cyberbullying and racist name calling because of the colour of their skin, religious beliefs or their accent.

Spikes in Childline counselling sessions about racial and faith based bullying have sometimes followed terror attacks, with the number rising by over a third following the Westminster attack in March 2017, compared to the previous month.

“Everyone at school hates me, they call me names like 'paki' and say that I'm a terrorist. They bully me because of the way that I dress, I don't want to wear my headscarf to school anymore because it makes me stand out, but I could never tell my parents that. I just want to make friends at school and for people to like me, but it's really hard when I feel like an outsider.”

– 11 year old girl speaking to Childline

Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline children shouldn't have to carry this burden.

"Bullying of any kind is vile, but targeting someone because of the colour of their skin, religious beliefs or their accent is simply unacceptable. Children are taking on board prejudices around race and religion in society and trading them as playground insults, with extremely harmful results."

– Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline