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Hate crime conference hears real-life victim accounts in search for solutions

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Alan Charles and Professor Kevin Bampton

A multitude of hate crime experts and community groups came together for a day-long conference aimed at identifying new solutions to the problem.

The community conference was hosted by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles, in partnership with the University of Derby and Professor Kevin Bampton, Head of department of Law and Criminology, and saw representatives from a broad range of organisations attend to discuss how agencies can better work together to address hate crime. 

The event, which took place at the University of Derby’s Enterprise Centre in Derby, included talks on the impact of hate crime on victims including personal accounts from vulnerable people e.g., an older man who was blind and someone with learning difficulties who had experienced discrimination.

It also focused on how individuals, the Police and community partners could work together to deliver effective change in the support of victims.

During the conference, delegates discussed the difficulties of distinguishing ‘hate crimes” from “hate incidents” and also highlighted new figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales which reveal hate crime reports have increased by 18%. This was seen as a positive step forward and evidence that confidence among victims to report to the police is growing.

The conference also heard the importance of raising the profile of hate crime to the same levels as domestic violence in both the media and among the public.

Commenting after the event, Commissioner Charles said: “What was quite clear on the day was just how strongly the different organisations feel in standing up for victims of hate crime and delivering a more supportive and robust response to their needs to promote happier and more cohesive communities.

“Hate crime isn’t new but we all recognise that we need to be doing much more to protect people, especially vulnerable or repeat victims, to ensure they’re not living in isolation or fear.

“I’m pleased that reporting of hate crime appears to have increased. Under-reporting is one of the biggest issues police forces face and it is estimated that individuals experience up to 35 hate crimes before contacting the police. This should be addressed as a matter of urgency so that no one living in Derbyshire need ever fear reprisal or ridicule simply for seeking help.” 

Professor Kevin Bampton, Head of Department Law, Criminology & Social Sciences at Derby University, added: "Derbyshire is a county marked by diversity and difference. The conference emphasised how people from all backgrounds and heritages are working together to make it a safer and better place for everyone. The University of Derby's International Policing and Justice Institute is proud to support work to combat hate crime and support all of Derbyshire's people.” 

Commissioner Charles has prioritised tackling hate crime in his Police and Crime Plan and has awarded funding from his Ministry of Justice Victims Services Grant and Crime Prevention Grant aimed at addressing the issue.

Deputy PCC Hardyal Dhindsa leads on hate crime issues on behalf of the Commissioner.  Highlighting the many projects funded by the Commissioner focused on tackling hate crime, he said: “It’s essential that we work in partnership with other organisations to tackle the problem, and we agreed to base our work on the pioneering research carried out by Leicester University.  To drive this work forward I was delighted that the summit saw organisations and community groups alike signing up to 10 key pledges.”

In support of the aims of the summit, the Commissioner has agreed, with Derby Homes, to jointly fund a dedicated Hate Crime Development Worker who will work in local communities.

In addition, Commissioner Charles has supported various groups with funding from his Ministry of Justice Victims Services Grant to help to victims of hate crime across the county.

Ends

 

Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

 

Posted on Monday 19th October 2015
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