Awareness target as hate crimes rise

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Merseyside Maritime Museum. Photo: Ida Husøy

Liverpool Maritime Museum hosts hate crime awareness conference. Photo: © Ida Husøy/JMU Journalism

New statistics released by the Home Office have shown an 18% rise in hate crime across England and Wales.

The numbers come during National Hate Crime Awareness week, which is taking place in Liverpool this week.

The event, which was set up by Stop Hate UK and charity 17-24-30, is a chance for individuals and organisations to come together to raise awareness about the need to report hate crime.

A conference at Liverpool Maritime Museum took place on Tuesday where Professor David Ormerod QC, author of the report ‘Hate Crime: should the current offences be extended?’, spoke about the importance of challenging hate crime.

One of the main problems that faces charities is people’s own reluctance to report incidents and abuse they have received. Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK, said: “Hate Crime across all monitored strands – disability, faith, gender identity, race and sexual orientation is a much under-reported crime.”

The awareness week started with a remembrance service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London where candles were lit for the victims of hate crime.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Anthony Walker. The teenager was murdered in one of Liverpool’s most shocking acts of discrimination. After his death, a foundation was set up in his name by his family to give support to victims of hate crime and to help them overcome the abuse.

Video report by Jessica Jones and Astra Armitt, JMU Journalism TV

John Au, operation manager for Anthony Walker foundation, believes hate discrimination has gradually decreased in the city. He told JMU Journalism: “It’s sometimes seen as political correctness gone mad, people may think it’s okay to say stuff about disability, gender, sexuality, race and think it’s funny. It’s not funny, it’s offensive.”

A scheduled ‘White Man March’, which was due to take place in Liverpool last August, was cancelled due to enormous outrage from the city’s residents and marches from anti-fascist groups.

Au was pleased with Liverpool’s response, adding: “The people who protest, that sends out a positive message, thinking about it and making a stand against something that is inexcusable is a good thing.”

A gala dinner in memory of Anthony Walker is taking place on October 17th to celebrate the work done by individuals and organisations with the charity.

Anybody who has been affected by hate crime can contact Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625.

About Jack Whitehead, JMU Journalism