Activities organised by the RHINS (Responding to Hate Incidents in North Somerset) partnership will highlight what a hate crime is, how to report it (whether you are a victim or a witness) and the support that is available for those affected by it.
During the week there will be a particular focus on racial hate crime which represents over 70 per cent of all hate crimes that have been reported to Avon and Somerset Police in the last six months. Between January and August this year the police recorded a total of 2,180 hate crimes across the force area. Of these 1,563 were racial hate crimes, up from 1,366 during the same period last year.
A racial hate crime is an offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race. Racial hate comes in many forms - it can be physical, verbal and can also take place online. It can be devastating to victims and have life-changing consequences.
"Racial hate crime is not normal and is not ok," said Cllr Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council's executive member responsible for community safety. "There is no place for racism or hatred in North Somerset. The council condemns all forms of racism and is committed to work together with our local communities and partners to combat hate wherever it occurs."
The week will include:
- Monday 12 October, 9.30am-11.30am - online hate crime awareness training for professionals and organisations across North Somerset wanting to improve their understanding of hate crime and where to go to get support. If you would like to join the free session email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Monday 12 October, 5pm - Facebook Live session on the Avon and Somerset Police Facebook page @avonandsomersetpolice with Superintendent Andy Bennett and Alex Raikes from SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality). An opportunity for members of the public to ask questions about hate crime, talk about how the police and other organisations are tackling hate crime and highlight the support services available to victims.
- Thursday 15 October, 5pm-6pm - North Somerset Council's Community Safety Manager Howard Pothecary will join Mark Nicholson from Avon and Somerset Police and Nainesh Pandit from SARI in an online Q&A session. To take part just go to the Safer Stronger North Somerset Twitter or Facebook page at 5pm on Thursday.
In addition, RHINS partners have put together an information pack about hate crime, what it is and how those affected by it can get support. This can be downloaded from the Safer Stronger North Somerset website - www.saferstrongerns.co.uk.
Hate crime comes in many different forms. As well as race, it can be because of hatred on the grounds of age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.
Hate crimes can be reported in many ways - call 999 if a crime is happening now or if someone is in immediate danger, 101 if it’s not an emergency or visit www.saferstrongerns.co.uk/hatecrime to find out how to report online.
"If you are the victim of any sort of hate crime you are not alone," said Cllr Canniford. "There are many organisations able to help and support you, so there is no need for anyone to suffer in silence.
"We urge any victim or witness of an incident or behaviour that you think is, or could be, a hate crime to report it. By reporting hate crime when it happens, you can prevent it happening to someone else."
For the latest on hate crime awareness week in North Somerset, follow @SaferStrongerNS on Twitter and Safer Stronger North Somerset on Facebook and look out for the hashtag #NHCAW20 on social media throughout the week.