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Police and Crime Commissioner supports National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley is supporting this year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week (12 – 19 October); raising awareness of hate crime and the support that is available to both victims and witnesses through Victims First.

Hate Crime is a crime or incident against you, your friends, your family or your property because of your actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race or religion. It can take many forms such as physical and verbal attacks, vandalism, graffiti, online abuse and threatening behaviours.

Victims First which is managed by the Office of the PCC operates a Third Party Reporting Mechanism for Hate Crime which allows victims and witnesses of hate crime who aren't comfortable reporting directly to the police, to contact them instead. As well as taking reports, Victims First also ensures that both victims and witnesses of hate crime have access to the support they need.

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner said “The impact of hate crime can be devastating for victims and nobody should be living their life in fear.

“Hate Crime Awareness Week is an important opportunity to remind ourselves of the work we are doing to support victims.  We are seeing an increased confidence in reporting of hate crime and I continue to encourage victims or any witnesses to report either to the police or through Victims First where they can also receive support.  By reporting it we may be able to prevent it happening to someone else.”

Nazia Ahmed Victims First Officer said “If anyone needs help then Victims First is here for you. We know it can be hard for people to speak about their experience of hate crime, and that they may be in fear of doing so, but if you contact us we will listen to you and discuss any emotional or practical needs you may have.

“We will also support victims and witnesses in reporting the crime.  We can do this anonymously or support them in taking their case forward with the police”.

Reports of hate crime can be made by phone on 0300 1234 148 or online through the Victims First website  Victims and witnesses of crime can receive free support from Victims First regardless of whether they choose to report the crime to the police.

As in previous years, the Office of the PCC will also continue to promote its 'Let's Hate Hate' campaign which features 10 individuals from all walks of life who could be either a victim or a witness of hate crime, or both.  The campaign's overall aim is to encourage both victims and witnesses of hate crime not to accept abuse as 'normal', but report it.