Sussex is #NoPlaceForHate

09/10/2015

Please note that as of December 2018 the Self Evident app is no longer available. You can find other help and support for hate crime here.

During National Hate Crime Awareness Week a bespoke hate crime reporting app will be launched that will make it easier to record and report all strands of hate crime in Sussex.

The one-year pan-Sussex pilot is in partnership with Sussex Police, Brighton & Hove City Council Safer City Team, Victim Support and local authorities across Sussex.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said the following about the need to invest in technology in the fight against hate crime: “No one should be singled out and victimised because of their sexuality, gender, race, faith or disability.

“Many minority groups have not always had the same trust in the police. I am determined to improve this for everyone and that is why I fully support any initiative that tackles hate crime, which is a key priority in my Police & Crime Plan.

“Hate crime was also one of the five priority issues for my Youth Commission. In their final report they recommended the need to raise awareness of what constitutes a hate crime and how to report it and that there was a real need for the development of a hate crime app.

“The modified app will empower victims of hate crime by allowing them to choose the kind of support they want to receive. Ultimately, the app puts the victim in the driving seat.”

The Self Evident crime reporting app is an existing piece of technology developed by a social enterprise, Just Evidence. However, financial investment from the PCC and her counterpart in London has enabled more custom-built software to be added which will serve a wider purpose: victims of hate crime may want to access help and advice but not necessarily want to involve the police.

Sarah Byrt, manager at Witness Confident, the charity which promotes the app, said: “It’s great news that victims or witnesses of hate crime in Sussex or London will have new and easy ways to report to police and get support with the free Self Evident app. More than 90% of users already recommend the Self Evident app for crime reporting and we’re delighted that the new features will help the whole community in the fight against hate crime.”

The added functionality in the app will allow users to send a report straight to victim support services without the need to report to police. However, those who chose to report an incident to the police will still receive support under the existing PCC contract with Victim Support.
Graham Hill, Victim Support’s Lead Manager for Hate Crime Services in Sussex, said: “People affected by hate crime are often reluctant to tell anybody about what is happening to them. As a consequence they internalise this and ‘suffer in silence’; also they do not access the support that is available to them.

“Together with our partner agencies, we have worked to create an environment in which people have the confidence to tell others they are being targeted. The development of an app to encourage those affected to report this is a very welcome step forward. Having the option to involve the police, if that is their choice, or to report to an independent third party is warmly welcomed by Victim Support”.

The app also lets the user store evidence securely and build a dossier, so they can decide at a later stage who they want to send it to. Another advantage is that the data will allow partners to identify anonymously where the hate crime hot spots are in the county and react accordingly. And witnesses will be able to take a stand against hate crime by reporting what they see.

Eric Page from the LGBT Safe in the City said: “We are really pleased to be working with the PCC on this much needed innovation. Report after report shows us how much Hate Crime LGBT people are actually suffering, but many people find that reporting mechanisms are difficult or take up too much time. This easy, direct and quick new way of reporting and contacting police, council and support agencies – via their own smart phone – will give people a sense of control over their reports and make it much easier for victims of all forms of hate crime to report what’s happened to them, and also to choose who they report to.

“The app makes reporting hate crime as easy and secure as checking your bank account, flight details or social updates on your phone, with as much control as people expect with their data & digital lives”.

Suchi Chatterjee, hate crime caseworker for Sussex Police said: “Having been a victim of hate crime on two separate occasions in my life, I have very strong feelings about how it should be dealt with.

“So many people I have spoken to over the years don’t bother to report to anyone what can often be horrific experiences of being abused/threatened/assaulted just because of who they are or who they are perceived to be. They also often don’t know that they can access help and support from the likes of Victim Support even if they don’t want to approach the police.

“I am all for everyone reporting hate crime to the police and I am acutely aware that this is not always the course some people want to take, but this doesn’t mean they have to suffer in silence.”

Sussex Police Hate Crime Sergeant, Peter Allan, said: “We are working hard with our partners to raise awareness of hate crime and increase trust and confidence within our communities to report it.

“From April to September this year there has been a 30% increase in recording of both hate crimes and hate incidents compared to the same period in 2014:
April – September 2015; 865 hate crimes and 304 hate incidents = 1169
April – September 2014; 671 hate crimes and 229 hate incidents = 900

“Despite this increase we still acknowledge that many such crimes and incidents go unreported and so we are pleased to be involved with the enhanced development of the Self-Evident reporting app; to boost its existing reporting function, to include the option for victims to report to a support service only, rather than the police directly.”

Download the app:
IPhone https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/self-evident/id571644999
Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.witnessconfident.app

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