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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Home Office launch new national campaign to raise awareness of hate crime

Written by Hayden Smith

Examples of potential hate crimes are highlighted in a new national campaign to increase awareness about the "sickening" offending.

The initiative aims to make clear that directing abuse at someone because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability is a criminal offence.

Films and posters depicting fictional cases include a lesbian couple being verbally abused at a bar; racist graffiti being sprayed on the shop of a foreign couple; an offender posting hate-filled messages about a transgender woman online; a Muslim woman being aggressively shouted at to remove her headscarf; a Jewish man being abused in the street; and a disabled man being verbally abused on a bus.

The Home Office said the campaign has been developed to help the public understand hate crime, particularly offences which often people do not recognise as criminal, such as some forms of online and verbal abuse.

Minister for Countering Extremism Baroness Williams said: "Committing a hate crime goes against all the shared values we hold and can have a traumatic impact on victims.

"This is just one part of the ongoing work of the Government to tackle hate crime to ensure this sickening behaviour is stamped out."

Statistics published earlier this month revealed that, in 2017/18, there were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, an increase of 17% compared with the previous year.

In a separate step, the Government has commissioned a review to examine hate crime laws, including whether they should be extended to cover offences motivated by hostility towards a victim's sex or age.

The new awareness campaign, which will go live on Wednesday, was developed in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Home Office / PA Wire.