Proudly celebrating the inclusive, multicultural community in Avon and Somerset will be the focus of Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and the Police during this year's National Hate Crime Awareness Week (10 – 17 October).
During the week, we are asking people to celebrate diversity by capturing what it means to them in pictures, on film or in words and sharing images and stories on social media using the hashtag #celebratenothate.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "As individuals, I believe our differences should be celebrated, it’s our uniqueness that makes each and every one of us who we are. That’s why being targeted because of your age, sexuality, race or religion is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Avon and Somerset. We have some fantastic charities helping to support victims of hate crime, however it is essential that people who have experienced hate crime, come forward and report it."
Will White, Hate Crime Lead for Avon and Somerset police said: "Rather than focus on the negative aspects of hate crime, we want to celebrate the positive stories of diversity across Avon and Somerset. We hope people will get involved and send us a picture or tell their story and help put an end to the vile crime that is hate crime."
Hate crime is motivated by prejudice towards any aspect of an individual’s identity such as a disability, sexuality, race or religion. In 2015, 423 hate crimes were reported in Avon and Somerset and the majority of these (80%) were racially motivated, whilst others were homophobic, faith and disability related.
By sharing the powerful stories of people who have experienced hate crime, the campaign aims to encourage people to recognise and report it. Stories include:
- Gaby - who was born in Wales, was sold into marriage in the Yemen at 13 years old and came back to the UK as a single parent with five small African Yemeni children. Gaby moved to Paignton in 1995 and her family experienced ongoing racism and became the victims of hate crime until SARI provided them with support and found them a safe place to live in Bristol
- Iain - who used to hang around with people he thought were friends. They took advantage of his good nature and would encourage him to get into fights and threaten him with violence. Iain now works for North Somerset People First supporting others with a learning disability
Alex Raikes, MBE, Strategic Director, Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI) said: "Until you experience unfair treatment not because of what you do but because of who you are, you can’t begin to understand the anger, frustration and upset is causes. We are supporting the Avon and Somerset police #celebratenothate campaign to remind people that diversity is to be celebrated and hate crime won’t be tolerated."
Mark, a victim of hate crime victim, said: "I am often the victim of abuse from people on the street who I’ve never met. Just last week a car drove past me and they shouted abuse out of the window - and people often mock how I walk. It doesn’t get me upset, I just feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for them being so ignorant."
To get involved with Hate Crime Awareness Week, share your pictures and stories of diversity using the hashtag #celebratenothate and share at @ASPolice and on the Avon and Somerset police Facebook page.
If you or someone you know are experiencing hate crime, call 999 if at immediate risk, 101 in a non-emergency, or report in person at a police station. Alternatively, report hate crime online on our website: https://avonandsomerset.police.uk/report or via True Vision: http://www.report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
Posted on Friday 9th October 2015