Written by Megan Tattersley
New figures indicate that Hate Crime is on the rise on Merseyside. The number of recorded incidents in Merseyside has increased by 29%. There were 80,393 incidents recorded by the Home Office last year, a increase of 17,875 from the previous year.
Hate Crime is defined as a crime targeted towards a person because of prejudice. This can be someone’s race, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or gender identification. The types of hate crime can vary from verbal abuse, harassment, physical attacks and threats of violence.
Despite the increase in crime there are many ways that people suffering from Hate Crime are getting more support than before thanks to the police service. MerseyDays has especially found this to be the case for the Transgender community.
MerseyDays spoke to Transgender woman, Imogen, who works to help the LGBT community with things like hate crime and has experienced hate herself. She particularly praised the Merseyside Police for how they have responded to hate crime. “The work the police are doing at the moment is a model of good practise, they have set up trans forums specifically based to the trans community on things like hate crime.”
Bill McAdam, Community Engagement Officer for Merseyside Police, said: “Hate Crime is really under reported and some people lack the necessary confidence to go directly to the police.” As a result of this the Police Crime Commissioner have commissioned services from Stop Hate UK to allow people who have experienced or witnessed Hate Crime to report it.
Sergeant McAdam also told MerseyDays that this was “a direct result of the recommendation of 16 of the Stephen Lawrence report which stated that the police and partner agencies should have somewhere other than a police station to report Hate Crime 24/7.”
As well as Stop UK, the police have a network of third party reporting centres where people can report a Hate Crime incident in a private location.
The Young Persons Advisory Service (YPAS) in a third party reporting centre in Liverpool. It has been specifically set up to help young people.
Paul Rooney, who works for the charity told MerseyDays, that YPAS provides a “safe space” which is “vital for helping those young people to develop confidence and self-esteem”. For those who require more support there is one to one counselling sessions.
Hate Crime teams within the police visit YPAS to talk to youth groups about hate crime and how to report it.
When it comes to doing more to prevent Hate Crime Mr Rooney said young people need to know more about their rights in reporting and how they can be protected and supported.
He said that in schools “incidents are often labelled as bullying need to be seen as hate crimes, if they involve a protected characteristic, so that they are treated seriously. They also should be reported more as hate crimes via schools so that perpetrators can see that there are consequences to hate incidents.”
Last year the YPAS ran a focus group specifically for a transgender youth group. Mr Rooney said: “approximately 85% of those young people described being the victim of some kind of, what they perceived as, transphobia and hate related incidents.”
Whether Hate Crime towards Transgender people will stop or not, social worker Imogen said she believes it will follow the same way racism has gone. She told MerseyDays: “We can’t pretend there aren’t people who make racist comments but I think more people are less racist and organisations are more inclusive.”
If you need to report Hate Crime against yourself or another individual you can contact Stop Hate UK on this link. https://www.stophateuk.org/