Hate-crime victims should not have to suffer in silence

Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Christopher Akers-Belcher.

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Victims of hate crime are being urged not to suffer in silence by reporting it as part of an ongoing campaign.

The Safer Hartlepool Partnership says the issue often goes unreported and is appealing to anyone affected by hate crime tell officials at one of 11 local reporting centres.

Everyone in the town should be able to get on with their lives without fear of abuse

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher

It is part of an on-going campaign to raise awareness of hate crime and the help available to victims.

Hate crimes are those that are committed against people because of disability, gender-identity, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, chair of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership and Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Hate crimes are often under-reported and that is something we are very keen to change.

“By raising awareness of the support that is available to victims we hope they will be more confident about coming forward.

“Everyone in the town should be able to get on with their lives without fear of abuse.”

Crimes can include threatening behaviour, verbal abuse, assault, robbery, damage to property, including offensive graffiti, inciting others to commit hate crimes and harassment.

Councillor Akers-Belcher added: “Hate crime can have a devastating impact on its victims and it is important that we provide them with a way of reporting incidents.

“Hopefully, by providing this network of reporting centres victims will be more confident about coming forward, knowing that they will be taken seriously.”

The Safer Hartlepool Partnership, whose members include the council, Cleveland Police and a range of other public sector and voluntary agencies, is calling on victims to report cases online or by visiting one of a series of local reporting centres in the town.

Hate crimes can be reported online at www.report-it.org.uk/home or at any of the following local reporting centres:

* Cleveland Police 999 in an emergency or 101 non-emergency, Hartlepool council (01429) 523100, Hart Gables (01429) 236790, Salaam Community Centre (01429) 284297, Hartlepool Blind Welfare Association (01429) 272494, Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau (01429) 408401, Centre for Independent Living (01429) 851350, Hartlepool Central Library (01429) 272905, Seaton Carew Library (01429) 269808, Owton Manor Library (01429) 272835 and West View Advice and Resource Centre (01429) 271294.