This week, during Hate Crime Awareness Week, The Gateshead Housing Company is encouraging anyone who is a victim of hate crime to not suffer in silence and report it, and help stamp it out in Gateshead for good.
Throughout Hate Crime Awareness Week (which runs until 17 October), the housing company and its partners, Gateshead Council and Northumbria Police, will be out in the community to encourage everyone to report hate crime whether they’re a victim to it or witness it.
They will also be promoting the support services and resources that are available locally to help victims of hate crime.
Hate crime is a crime against an individual or group of people based on their identity or their perceived difference. It could be an act of violence, hostility or discrimination.
Victims may have been bullied, harassed or abused because of their sexuality, gender, religion, ethnicity or lifestyle choice.
In year ending 2014/15 there were 98 reports of hate crime across Gateshead.
The crime may be verbal abuse, offensive graffiti, threats, damage to property, assault, cyber bullying, abusive texts, emails or phone calls. All are unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
Gary Haley, chair of the Gateshead Community Safety Board said: “Any incident of hate crime in Gateshead is one too many.
“But we’re confident that by working together we can make a real difference and show that hate crime will not be tolerated.
“For victims, the key message has to be, don’t suffer in silence. If you see it or hear it then report it – there are people who can help.”
To report a hate crime in Gateshead call the ARCH helpline on 0191 433 2648. With just one phone call victims can get help from a range of organisations, including Victim Support, housing and the police.
Callers can remain anonymous and don’t have to give their name and personal details. The helpline runs 24 hours a day and a translation service can be provided, in an emergency victims should always call the police’s 999 number.
Hate Crime Awareness Week will also see the launch of a new anti-hate crime animation and poster campaign called ‘We Stand Together’. We Stand Together is an arts project delivered by GemArts in partnership with The Gateshead Housing Company and Gateshead Council.
As part of the project, GemArts artists worked with two Gateshead secondary schools, Year 9 pupils from Heworth Grange Comprehensive School and Year 8 pupils from Joseph Swan Academy, and focused on raising Hate Crime awareness and reporting.
Heworth Grange Comprehensive School worked with visual artist Lesley-Anne Rose to create an engaging animation, and Joseph Swan Academy worked with Creative Ginger to design a powerful poster campaign.