Action on hate crime

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AN event is being held in Hartlepool aimed at targeting hate crime after there were 83 complaints reported to police last year.

A group called Ohanaezi is organising a community safety event which will look at crime experienced by minority groups, including ethnic minorities, disabled people and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in Hartlepool.

It will take place this Saturday at St Joseph’s Church Hall, in Grange Road, and anyone who has encountered intimidation, bullying, racist abuse or any other anti-social behaviour linked to their way of life is encouraged to attend.

A range of speakers will be at the event, including police community support officers from Cleveland Police, and Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

The aim of the event, which runs from 10am until noon, is to encourage minority groups to speak out and report hate crime.

Police figures from 2010 show there were 83 reported incidents of hate crime in Hartlepool, which now has residents of more than 20 different nationalities, including Polish, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African and Filipino.

Of these, 63 were race-related, 16 were homophobic, one was faith-related, one was transgender-related and two targeted disabled people.

During the event, various agencies will be on hand to give advice and support on how to deal with such issues.

Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA), which helped to set up Ohanaezi, which supports black, Afro-Caribbean and other minorities, is helping to organise the event and other agencies involved include the Safer Hartlepool Partnership and Hartlepool Community Network.

Peter Gowland, project development officer with HVDA, said: “It’s important that minority communities are supported and advised just as any group would be in Hartlepool..”

Ward councillors are expected to attend the event, as well as ethnic minority groups including Hartlepool Chinese Association, the town’s asylum seeker and refugee group.

Traditional foods from around the world will be served at the end of the event.

For more information, call HVDA on (01429) 262641.