A step closer to county-wide hate crime support service

20/10/2017

Four organisations in Sussex have been awarded grants from the Police and Crime Commissioner's (PCC) Victims' Services Fund for projects and services that support vulnerable victims of hate crime and those that have been persistently targeted.

"After members of my team held a series of workshops with local charities and specialist services, I decided to make a tranche of funding available to specifically support victims of hate crime who have been targeted because of their race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, disability, or age," said Sussex PCC Katy Bourne.

The organisers of national Hate Crime Awareness Week (14-21 October 2017), the No To Hate Crime Campaign and Stop Hate UK, have called on police forces and local authorities to work with communities affected by hate crime to tackle local issues.

"The organisations who have been awarded grants from my Victims' Services Fund will help me to shape a new county-wide hate crime support service, which will be up and running in 2019. This is a highly complex area which is why my team is working closely with more than a dozen different agencies across Sussex to try and develop a better service for victims, whatever the personal characteristic they are being persecuted for," Mrs Bourne continued.

A total of £77,242 from the PCC's Victims' Services Fund has been awarded to:

• Trans Survivors - to provide a monthly drop in service in Brighton & Hove for trans and non binary victims and survivors of hate crime so they can provide each other with peer to peer support as well as creating an evidence base of the specific needs of these communities.

• Victim Support - to recruit an Independent Victims Advocate to work in East Sussex to provide front line support to the most complex, high risk and vulnerable victims of hate crime. The role will provide immediate emotional support, advocacy and advice, case leadership and coordination with onward support services.

• Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex - to fund the Step Forward for Survivors project, to improve the safety, resilience and wellbeing of women who experience multiple forms of disadvantage and vulnerability and who are persistently targeted as victims of sexual violence as a result of their gender identity as a woman.

• Brighton & Hove Impetus - to support people with learning disabilities who have been a victim of or witness to crime, providing advocacy, information, email and text support.

The PCC has also funded the following services in East and West Sussex to support all victims of hate crime:

• Sussex Community Development Association’s ‘Safe from Harm’ service in East Sussex provides emotional and practical support to those at significant risk of harm from anti-social behaviour and hate incidents, and supports victims to have their experiences heard.

• The West Sussex, Hate Incident Support Service supports children and adults affected by hate incidents and crime offering free and confidential emotional, practical, and advocacy support.

Nationally, hate crime offences recorded by the police have increased by 29 percent (to over 80,000 offences) in the last year - the largest increase seen since the Home Office started collecting these statistics in 2011-12.

The increase is thought to reflect a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and also due to ongoing improvements in crime recording by the police. There was a further increase in police recorded hate crime following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017.

Sussex Police figures show that between 1 April - 30 September this year the number of hate crimes in the county has increased by 5 percent (54 incidents) compared to the same period in 2016. In particular, incidents of homophobic, disablist and religious hate crime have shown significant increases, up 24 percent (43 incidents), 26 percent (26 incidents) and 42 percent (31 incidents) respectively.

Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service hate crime annual report published this week show that across the South-East, the area had the country’s highest conviction rate for homophobic and transphobic crime at 90.2% and was second in the county for convictions for racial and religious hate crime.

Victims of crime can access local support services at www.safespacesussex.org.uk, even if they haven’t reported a crime to the police.

Hate Crime Awareness Week is a national initiative which aims to bring people together, to stand with those affected by hate crime and support those who need ongoing support. Visit: www.stophateuk.org/hate-crime-awareness-week.

ENDS

Notes for editors:

Recorded Hate Crimes for the period 1 April 2017 – 30 September 2017:

  Previous PPYTD up to 6th Oct 2016 Current PPYTD up to 6th Oct 2017 Difference
(Number)
Difference
(Percentage)
Racist 830 807 -23 -3%
Homophobic 181 224 +43 +24%
Disablist 100 126 +26 +26%
Religious 74 105 +31 +42%
Gender 42 37 -5 -12%
Total 1,179 1,233 +54 +5%

These projects support victims of protected characteristics but these services go beyond the traditional categories of hate crime to recognise that somebody can be persistently targeted or particularly vulnerable without necessarily holding a protected characteristic.

For further information or interviews with Katy Bourne please contact Rosie Gooch, Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner. Tel: 01273 335634 or email: rosie.gooch@sussex-pcc.gov.uk.

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