PSNI launches new hate crime awareness campaign to encourage victims to come forward

Michael Avila, Hate Crime Advocacy Service, Superintendent Sue Steen, Police Service of Northern Ireland Hate Crime lead and John Blair MLA, Northern Ireland Policing Board Partnership Committee Chair. Credit: PSNI

The PSNI have launched a hate crime awareness campaign to encourage more victims to come forward. The PSNI campaign, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Policing and Community Safety Partnerships and the Hate Crime Advocacy Service, launched the campaign on Friday to highlight the impact that hate crime has on victims.

The campaign, which is being launched during Hate Crime Awareness Week, has been developed to prompt people to “put yourself in their shoes” and think about how they would feel if they were on the receiving end of hate crime.

“In a modern and diverse society that is simply not acceptable,” she said. “Northern Ireland has a reputation of being a welcoming place but that is not the experience of people who experience hate crimes or incidents. “No-one has the right to perpetrate hate on any individual simply because of their background, race, religion, faith or how they identify. “This week, and in the weeks to come, we are asking everyone to reflect on how they would feel if they were ‘in the shoes’ of a victim of a hate crime or hate incident. “We all have a responsibility, individually and collectively, to work to challenge and eradicate hate in our society.” Ms Steen added: “It is also critical that victims report their experiences to police as we can only work to prevent crimes that we know about.” John Blair, chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board Partnership Committee, said the Police Service of Northern Ireland has an “important role” in protecting victims of hate crime. “How the Police Service does this is a key area of oversight for the Policing Board,” he said. “Both the Policing Board, and the Policing and Community Policing Partnerships want to play our part in encouraging people who experience hate crime to report this to police and call for those who perpetrate such incidents to stop and think about how they would feel if they were in a victim’s shoes”. Michael Avila from the Hate Crime Advocacy Service said the organisation worked closely with the PSNI to support victims. “We offer a safe and confidential space to provide help to victims and we can support you whether or not you have reported a crime to the police,” he said. “Free and confidential help is available and we encourage anyone who has experienced a hate crime or incident to contact the Advocacy Service”.

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