A new 24-hour telephone helpline has been launched to assist victims of hate crime in North Yorkshire, as part of a campaign by North Yorkshire Police to tackle the issue county-wide.
Hate crime is defined as any act of hostility or violence which is directed at a person because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief.
Whilst the number of recorded hate crime incidents in the county remains relatively low (387 in 2013/14), this represents a rise of 21 percent increase compared with two years ago – a trend that North Yorkshire Police is keen to reverse. The police also believe that the real number of incidents could in fact be far higher, due to under-reporting of hate crime offences.
Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, who is leading North Yorkshire Police’s response to hate crime issues, explained:
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of people who suffer from hate crime far exceeds the number of reports that are made, and we want to change that. Part of the reason for low reporting is that many people aren’t sure exactly what a hate crime is, or where and how to report it. We want to spread the word that name-calling, verbal threats, graffiti, bullying and damage to personal property doesn’t have to be tolerated, and that victims of such behaviour can call the Stop Hate helpline to report what has happened and get advice on what to do.”
The Stop Hate UK helpline is available on 0800 138 1625 and is staffed by trained operators 24 hours a day. An online chat service is also available on http://www.stophateuk.org/talk-to-us
Stop Hate UK operators give callers advice about whether what has happened is a hate crime offence. If it is, the operator will take details about the offence and pass it on to the police and other support agencies, with the consent of the caller. Alternatively, callers can decide to remain anonymous, in which case basic details are provided to the police to help create an intelligence picture of where hate crime has occurred, but the personal details of the caller stay confidential.
Commenting on the launch of the Stop Hate helpline service, Julia Mulligan, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said:
“Last year I conducted a major piece of research into public perceptions and experiences of crime, and hate crime came out strongly as an issue that needs to be addressed, especially in York and Scarborough, and on public transport. The launch of the Stop Hate telephone line is an important step forward in dealing with this problem, and I hope that community leaders, teachers and support groups will really get behind the Stop Hate initiative and spread the word about the helpline.”Last modified: May 9, 2018