TO mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week partners and support services came together at an event in Newtownabbey today to raise awareness of hate crime and highlight the many initiatives taking place across Northern Ireland to promote inclusivity and support victims.
Hosted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership, attendees watched three short performances by students from Lagan College depicting typical hate crimes and incidents followed by presentations and panel discussion from PSNI, The Rainbow Project, Victim Support NI, Leonard Cheshire NI and Migrant Centre NI.
Chief Superintendent Emma Bond, who leads on Hate Crime for the Police Service said: “Today was an opportunity to showcase some of the excellent partnership initiatives that are being used in Districts to encourage reporting and support victims.
“We heard from Mid and East Antrim who earlier this year rolled out their #NoHateHere campaign with joint support from Council, PCSP, Inter Ethnic Forum and police.
“Their aim has been to encourage local businesses and organisations to support hate crime victims and signpost them to services.
“We also watched a video made by students from Belfast Metropolitan College on disability hate crime. It is fantastic to see the next generation taking positive steps to highlight and campaign on these important issues.
“While we know that many hate crimes and incidents go unreported, we must also take the time to recognise the significant work that takes place, not just during key dates like this, but every day to ensure that everyone’s human rights are respected and that victims are being supported.”
Emma Barronwell, Hate Crime Advocate Co-ordinator, added: ““Today was an excellent opportunity to highlight the lived experiences of victims of hate crime in Northern Ireland, and to raise awareness about the hate crime advocacy service. The advocates are on hand to give information, practical help and emotional support.
“We can also provide information about the criminal justice system and compensation if you choose to report the crime. We work closely with a wide range of organisations, many of whom were in attendance today, to ensure that victims get the right support when they need it.
“There is no place for hate in Northern Ireland. We want all victims of hate crime to know that they are not alone and that support is available immediately after an incident or at any stage.”
National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from October 12 to 19.