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Hate crime victims encouraged to report abuse

The film explains what hate crimes are. Credit: Carlisle MENCAP

A Cumbrian charity has produced a film to encourage victims of hate crimes to come forward.

Carlisle MENCAP supports people with learning disabilities, and they've released the film to coincide with Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The film explains what hate crimes are, and how to report them to the police.

Police investigate hate crime in Hawick

Credit: PA

Police in the Scottish Borders are appealing for witnesses following racially aggravated abuse in Hawick at 11pm last night, Wednesday 29.

A 21-year-old man was walking along the road from the top of Baker Street when an unknown man shouted racially aggravated abuse at him.

The suspect is described as white, in his late teens or early 20s, and is between 5ft 7inches - 6ft tall,.

He has red/blonde short hair, and a stocky build, and was wearing a red/orange coloured hoodie.

Officers are now urging anyone who can assist with their enquiries to come forward.

For this young man to be subject to such unprovoked abuse as he went about his daily business is shocking.

"This behaviour is absolutely unacceptable in our community and I'd urge anyone who witnessed this incident, or has information which can help with our enquiries, to come forward."

– Inspector Mike Bennett


Combating hate crime in Cumbria

With disability hate crimes on the rise in Cumbria, a day centre for adults with learning difficulties is highlighting just how damaging and serious the issue can be.

Last year 48 disability hate crimes were reported to Cumbria Police - more than double the number in the previous 12 months.

So to combat this growing problem The Heathlands Project near Carlisle has teamed up with the police to take the anti-hate crime message into local schools.

Today a session was delivered at William Howard School in Brampton to teach pupils what hate crime is and how and why it can have such a devastating impact.

Heathlands Project users have also been speaking about their experiences of hate crime.

"A youth walking along the street tried to fiddle with my wheelchair controls. He then tipped my chair backwards and I hit my head on the pavement.

"It's wrong - everyone who witnesses hate crime or experiences hate crime should report it to the police."

– Hate crime victim and Heathlands Project visitor Steve Woodburn

For more help, information and support on dealing with hate crime take a look at the following links.

Hate crime victim Steve Woodburn Credit: ITV Border

Hate crime victims urged to come forward

Victims of hate crime in Scotland are being urged to come forward and report their attacks as part of a new campaign.

'Speak Up Against Hate Crime', launched by the Scottish Government, aims to empower victims and witnesses of crimes based on race, religion, disability, sexuality or gender identity.

“It’s extremely important for victims or witnesses of hate crime to speak up and have their voices heard. We take a zero tolerance approach to incidents of hate and Police Scotland is working hard to gather information on people suspected of committing hate crime acts. Ultimately, reporting hate crime assists not only with that particular incident but also helps prevent it happening to others. [The campaign] will raise awareness of what a hate crime is, and give victims the courage to speak up while ensuring perpetrators of this damaging prejudice are clear these acts are unacceptable.”

– Roseanna Cunningham, Community Safety Minister

Between 2012 and 2013 there were more than 4,000 racially aggravated charges of hate crime reported, with a rise in reported incidents relating to religion, disability and sexual orientation.

Local policing divisions are working to gather intelligence on people suspected of committing a hate crime.

"Police Scotland treats hate crime as a high priority and would urge any victim or witness to report it to allow us to thoroughly investigate and deal robustly with offenders. We recognise the impact hate crime can have on individuals, families and communities and will treat each case sensitively, using specialist officers and services where appropriate."

– Superintendent Gavin Phillip, Police Scotland

To report incidents of hate crime members phone the Police on 101, or 999 if it is an emergency, or report in person at any Police office.

Racist and religious hate crime awareness day in Kendal

A number of forces are joining together to raise awareness of racist and religious hate crime in Cumbria.

The Crown Prosecution Centre (CPS) has teamed up with Cumbria Police and AWAZ Cumbria to hold a special conference in Kendal.

The event, being held at the Castle Green Hotel, is aimed at giving people a better understanding of what racist and religious hate crimes are.

There were almost 100 racist or religious hate crime prosecutions in Cumbria in the past year, and nearly 90% of these ended in successful prosecution.

" I am delighted that the CPS is working in partnership with Cumbria Police and AWAZ Cumbria to raise awareness about racist and religious hate crime in the county.

"The CPS takes racist and religious hate crime extremely seriously and we are determined to bring those who commit these crimes to justice.

“The effects of hate crime are far reaching and they can cause long lasting harm. They are not only extremely distressing for the victim, but for families and communities as well."

– Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor


Disability hate crime crackdown

A campaign to raise awareness of disability hate crime is being launched in Cumbria.

The joint campaign between Cumbria Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is being run over eight weeks, after discussions showed that a large amount of hate crime goes unreported.

A meeting was held with disabled people and disibility groups after figures showed that only 17 disability hate crimes were reported to police in Cumbria in 2012, in comparison to 166 reports of race hate crime.