By Luke Hudson
A CAMPAIGN to raise public awareness of hate crime was launched this week.
The campaign will work with local communities to provide education and support for victims to speak up when incidents take place.
This latest initiative is part of the nationwide Hate Crime Awareness Week running from October 14 to today (October 21).
West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson are backing the campaign.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “We still need to continue to raise awareness and push the message that we absolutely do not tolerate hate.
“We will continue to do our utmost, together with our partners and our communities, to eradicate this in West Yorkshire.”
The campaign features dedicated webpages, social media promotions and posters throughout communities.
New information videos have also been produced to help people recognise and respond to hate crimes and hate incidents.
The annual event is now in its sixth year. Founder Mark Healy said: “We are very proud that National Hate Crime Awareness Week is now being marked by so many local authorities and organisations around the UK.
“We want people to organise and get involved in hate crime awareness events everywhere around the UK, to remember those we have lost, and stand together with all those affected by these horrendous attacks.”
A hate crime is any criminal offence perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the years 2015 and 2016 over 3,700 hate crimes were recorded in West Yorkshire and around 85 per cent of hate crimes were race-related.
Crimes can include physical attacks or threat of attack, offensive graffiti and arson, and inciting hatred by words, pictures or videos.
A hate incident is any non-criminal action motivated by the same criteria.
This can include verbal or online abuse, or bullying at school and the workplace.
One in three lesbian, gay or bisexual people have experienced a homophobic attack, and three out of four transgender people are victims of hate crime annually.
West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “Our message is simple. If you have experienced a hate crime or incident then please report it in whatever way you feel comfortable.”
Reports to the police can be made by calling 999 in an emergency, 101 for a non-emergency, at a police station, or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/advice/abuse-anti-social-behaviour/hate-crime/hate-crime-hate-incidents, or www.report-it.org.uk