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Commissioner funds hate crime project offering free legal help to victims


Victims of hate crime across Derbyshire are to benefit from free advice and legal help thanks to the roll-out of a crime prevention project.

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles is providing funding to the Derbyshire Law Centre to enable it to expand its support services to victims of hate crime across the county.  The funding not only enables the project to continue for another year but will also help victims across a wider geographic area.

Commissioner Charles met volunteers and staff at Derbyshire Law Centre during a special launch event last week (Wednesday, February 4).

Commenting after his visit, Commissioner Charles said: “Hate crime remains hugely underreported and I am determined to change this by enhancing the services we provide to victims so that they feel supported and confident in seeking help”.

“Victims of hate crime are incredibly vulnerable and might suffer repeatedly before having the courage to contact police. We have a responsibility to increase the practical help on offer to make the judicial process easier and to encourage other victims that they needn’t suffer in silence”.

“The Derbyshire Law Centre fulfils a critical role in this task, providing free legal work for specific cases, advising people on their rights and signposting them to professional help to aid their recovery, and I’m delighted to be able to support this invaluable resource.  This project comes in addition to the preventative education we are already delivering in schools to tackle the source of hate crime so that we remove prejudice and promote healthier attitudes.” 

Tony McIlveen who is a Senior Solicitor at Derbyshire Law Centre said: “We are pleased that our Hate and Harassment Advice service has expanded across Derbyshire and this has been made possible by new funding from the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner. This means that people who are being harassed will be able to get free legal advice and support from the Law Centre which has a number of branch offices across the county where we can advise victims of hate crime.”

Sarah Roy who specialise in hate and harassment said:  “We are seeing an increase in hate and harassment incidents and it is important that individuals get to know the options available to stop this.  Individuals can get free legal advice through our freephone number: 0800 707 6990.”

The grant provided by Commissioner Charles will help to fund a reporting centre covering North Eastern Derbyshire as well as enhanced specialist advice and casework services, free of charge, across the whole county.  It will also be invested in a free hate and harassment telephone advice and signposting service across Derbyshire and provide crime prevention advice to help protect potential or repeat victims.

The project will support victims to report hate incidents to the police while providing them with free legal casework. The project will also work with partners in the voluntary, legal and public sector, to prevent hate and harassment and to identify local solutions to tackle the problem.

Ends

Editors Note:
Derbyshire Law Centre’s main office is based at 1 Rose Hill East, Chesterfield, S40 1NU. It has seven branch offices throughout Derbyshire.  For more details about their free legal services please contact 01246 550674 or contact on freephone number: 0800 707 6990 where charges may apply from mobiles.

 

Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

Posted on Monday 9th February 2015
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