Catch22’s Chloe Ashdown is a Wellbeing Practitioner within Catch22’s Personal Wellbeing Commissioner Rehabilitative Services. She is also our Lead for LGBTQ+ Protected Characteristics. In this blog she explores the issue of hate crime and what can be done to tackle it.
This week marks National Hate Crime Awareness week. Despite the progress that has been made in raising of awareness of hate crime, and bringing perpetrators to justice, many people are still victims of hate, simply because of who they are.
A hate crime is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or because they are transgender. For example, if a gay man is assaulted and the perpetrator has used homophobic language, or if an individual in the BAME community has had racist remarks thrown at them, this is considered a hate crime.
There has been a 9% rise in the number of recorded hate crimes in England and Wales in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20 – with the figure standing at over 124,000. These figures should be a cause for alarm for all of us, particularly those of us who are working to create stronger and more united communities within the UK.
As a part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I have unfortunately become intimately familiar with hate crime, and the profound effects it can have on marginalised communities. Despite almost half of hate crime victims requiring emotional support in 2021, only 15% received any; leading to a sense of isolation and powerlessness.
In my own experience, I find hate crime incidents often start off with words, whether that be verbally face to face or on social media. Certain groups of people are often targeted. And this is precisely why each of us has the responsibility to stand up and speak out against hatred and hateful words.
At Catch22, we are consistently thinking of new and innovative ways we can increase awareness around each protected characteristic. We currently have protected characteristic leads across a variety of contracts.
One example of this is our Personal Wellbeing Justice team, who have protected characteristic leads for LGBTQ+, BAME, Foreign Nationals, Gypsy Roma and Travellers, Veterans and Neurodiversity. These leads are well-trained in giving extra support and advocacy to people who need it, as well as delivering training to all staff to increase knowledge of awareness.
Another example is that we have LGBTQ+ Representatives across Catch22 who are there to support staff and service users who experience any prejudice. We’re determined to make all efforts to prevent discrimination or unfair treatment and promote equality of opportunity for all members of staff, service users, and victims.
Reducing the number of hate crimes
Hate crimes are widely underreported, but with better advocacy for victims and more understanding of what constitutes a hate crime, we can prevent further incidences and empower those who have been targeted.
By raising awareness of Hate Crime Awareness Week, I hope to encourage anyone who may be a victim or be told of a hate crime, to report it. Whether that be through your manager, protected characteristics leads, or the police. Reporting hate crimes can ensure that individuals get support that can lead onto areas becoming a safer place.
For everyone else who is taking a stand in Hate Crime Awareness week, my hope is that we can promote safety for each and every one of us, and support people who are threatened by hate crime; building a better and safe place for us all. Let’s stand up to hate crime together.