Disability Equality NW (DAA member) is pleased to share news with other members following the activities and successes they achieved during Hate Crime Awareness Week (10-17 October 2015). You can read about this below.
Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015
The purpose of Hate Crime awareness week is to raise awareness of what Hate Crime is and how to respond to it as well as to encourage reporting of hate crime and to promote local authorities (Police, Council, Crown Prosecution Service & others) to work in partnership with local groups and community organisations. Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015 runs from Saturday 10th October to Saturday 17th October and there are expected to be a series of events taking place throughout the week.
At Disability Equality North West we decided to launch our new disability hate crime project Developing from the Negatives (DfN) during hate crime week and to run a number of diverse events working in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary, Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and others to raise awareness of what hate crime is and what to do if you experience or witness it.
Purple Ribbons #purpleribbon
Purple Ribbon Tree
At Lancashire Constabulary open day the DfN team worked alongside staff at the Constabulary to talk to the public about their views on hate crime. People were then invited to write a message on a purple ribbon which we displayed on a tree. We were over whelmed with the response and actually ran out of room on the tree!
The tree was displayed at the Harris Museum and art gallery throughout hate crime awareness week and is now available for organisations to borrow and display to raise awareness.
Purple Ribbons around Town
We wanted to create conversations and discussions around hate crime. A group of staff and volunteers went around Preston town centre tying ribbons with inspiring messages about hate crime written by disabled people to trees and buildings (prior permission from the Police and Council). Many of the ribbons were tied in places where there was graffiti particularly where hate speech has been seen, to act as a counter narrative.
We were approached by a number of members of the public when tying the ribbons that allowed us to have conversations with people about the impact of hate crime and signpost people to support.
Wearing Purple Ribbons
We encouraged people to wear purple ribbons to show their stance against hate crime. As well as being worn by individual they were worn by frontline Police Officers, staff at the probation service and frontline staff at Preston City Council.
We organised for the hate crime exhibition to be displayed at Preston City Councils reception in the week prior to hate crime week and then in the Harris Library throughout hate crime week. The exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through the experience of hate crime and the criminal justice system and finishes with raising awareness of how to report hate crime.
As members of the Lancashire Wide Strategic Hate Crime a Community Cohesion group we helped to organise a strategic hate crime conference. The event aimed to look at what was working well in Lancashire but also to find out from the community what wasn’t working and where the gaps were. The findings from the conference will be used to form the hate crime strategic action plan for the next year.
We officially launched the Developing from the Negatives project at the conference and were able to share our findings from the project so far and build partnerships with other key organisations in Lancashire.
One of the aims of the DfN project is to engage with new people who aren’t aware of hate crime. We have held lots of coffee mornings and afternoon tea events at our centre that have attracted a number of new members. For hate crime week we took our afternoon tea out into the community and held it at Ingol Methodist Church. The event was well attended with approximately 30 people and awareness was raised about hate crime using hate crime bingo. Ingol is an area that is in the top 10% most deprived in the country and this event enabled us to ensure that the people there know where to go to access support.
The final event of the week was a ‘hate crime take over’ of Preston Bus station. Feedback from our clients and service users has told us that a lot of disability hate crime takes place on public transport and in particular the bus network. We wanted to target passengers who were potential victims but also potential perpetrators. We raised awareness with all drivers and provided them with information on recognising and reporting hate crime. All drivers were given a hate crime badge to wear to show their stance against hate crime.
We put purple ribbons and artwork created by our service user in the subways leading to the bus station. The artwork showed how hate crime can make people feel.
We had a high visible presence near the main walkway with information on hate crime. There were stalls from the Crown Prosecution Service, Preston City Council, Lancashire Constabulary and Disability Equality North West.
The agencies dealt with a number of enquiries as well as a report of hate crime.
Preston Muslim Forum
Unfortunately we could not fit all of our activities into hate crime week! The following week we will be delivering a hate crime awareness session to members at Preston Muslim Forum.
Publicity / press / social media
We used the week to raise awareness of hate crime with the general public and a press release was sent out to all local media. The press release was also circulated by Preston City Council and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Staff gave an interview for the local TV station That’s Lancashire which can be seen by following the link here.
Interviews were also given to the radio stations the Bee and a volunteer assisted staff to give an interview on City Beat 103.2 FM.
A lot of our engagement for hate crime awareness week took place on social media, were we managed to engage with tens of thousands of people through our own followers and re tweets.
At the bus station we were approached by a service user who reported a hate crime that he had experienced earlier that week. He was walking through town with his support worker when he had been verbally abused and spat at on the basis of his identity.
With his consent we reported the crime to the Police and are providing him with emotional support.
Ideas for next year
Following the success of this year’s hate crime week activities we hope to build on it for next year:
- The exhibition will be displayed in a public place.
- The purple ribbons will be promoted.
- We will run an awareness raising event.
- We will deliver some training sessions.
Our next campaign will take place in January when it is Holocaust Memorial Day. The theme for this year is ‘Don’t Stand By’. We will be raising awareness of what you can do if you witness hate crime and promote being a community up stander.
Find out more about these events on the Disability Equality NW website here.