New app to support the reporting of hate crime across the Thames Valley
A new app has been launched to support the reporting of hate crime across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
The app, which has been launched by The Hate Crime Network and funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Anthony Stansfeld, helps users identify hate crime. It also enables victims and witnesses of hate crime to report incidents directly to the Hate Crime Network from their mobile phone.
Hate crime is a crime or incident which is motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s real or presumed religion, sexual orientation, race, gender identity or disability. Hate crime can take many forms such as physical and verbal attacks, vandalism, graffiti, online abuse and threatening behaviours.
The Hate Crime Network has been commissioned by the PCC to provide a third party reporting mechanism for hate crime in the Thames Valley and to engage with communities most at risk of hate crime to raise awareness of what it is and how to report it.
Hate crime is under-reported, with the Crime Survey of England and Wales estimating in 2013 that 60% of hate crimes go unreported. The Hate Crime Network is working to identify and reduce barriers to reporting and the app will provide victims and witnesses with an accessible mechanism to report incidents when and where they happen.
The Hate Crime Network also supports victims and witnesses to make a formal report to Thames Valley Police and/or offer appropriate advice and information to those victims requiring further emotional support.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner said ‘If we are to effectively tackle hate crime we must help communities and individuals understand what hate crime is and encourage victims and witnesses to report it.
“This app will greatly assist in reaching out to those at risk and allowing victims to report hate crime 24/7 and wherever they are.
“I am pleased that I have been able to support the Hate Crime Network in developing this app and I hope it will help those who may feel uncomfortable speaking to someone directly, to come forward to report and get support.”
Speaking about the app Hannah O’Neil, Director of the Hate Crime Network said ‘Reporting hate crime can be quite daunting, so we want to make reporting as easy and accessible as possible. Once people have reported we will support them where appropriate and work with them to ensure they feel confident and safe.’
The app ‘TVHCNetwork’ is available to download to Apple phones and HTML.
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- In October 2014, local Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) became responsible for commissioning new emotional and practical support services for victims of crime in their area. Across the country, local commissioning replaced the old system of grant-funding by the Ministry of Justice, although some services are still commissioned nationally, including the witness service, homicide service, trafficking service, rape support and some victims' helplines.
- PCCs are responsible for commissioning both a ‘non-specialist’ overarching victim referral mechanism including onward support and more ‘specialist’ services for victims of crime, including Restorative Justice service and hate crime.
- The PCC has consulted with voluntary and community sector providers and engaged with victims' organisations across the Thames Valley to ensure that all potential providers were well-informed and ready to take part in the commissioning process.
The Hate Crime Network contract is one of a number of new services created by the PCC in Thames Valley.