A manager for a Salford community organisation says it is vital that hate crimes are reported, as the city marks Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Anne Maria Marshall, a service manager for Salford CVS – the organisation for voluntary, community and social enterprises – says it is important to raise awareness of the issue.
Hate crime is an offence against an individual motivated by race, religion or faith, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity or identification with an alternative subculture and has a profound negative effect on people’s confidence and feelings of safety.
Reports show that approximately 65 per cent of hate crimes committed remain unreported.
“If people don’t disclose about hate crime, then how do we know it’s a problem? It’s raising the debate about what hate crime is and how they can report it,” says Anne.
“The overall statistics [for hate crime incidents] have marginally increased over the last couple of years.”
“There has been an increase of reports from the trans community and disability community, and although it has been a small increase in the reporting it is still an increase.”
[su_pullquote align=”right”]”People with learning disabilities do not understand some times that hate crime is being committed upon them.”[/su_pullquote]
Salford CVS is working with Salford City Council and Greater Manchester Police to offer grants to community services that will enable them to put on events.
This year, Salford CVS has funded 11 projects taking place across the city.
“We funded Gaydio to put on an awareness campaign and I’ve been there today for a question time panel with students from UTC,” says Anne
“It was useful that the students were asking us questions and I think it’s really important to talk about hate crime because if you don’t know about it… how do you know about it?”
“There’s some interesting and diverse work, for example filming a documentary about people who have experienced hate crime and those who have been perpetrators. It helps see what the causes of hate crime are and how you can dispel that.
“It’s a mix of performances, some conversations not only with Gaydio but also Salford City Radio, which is another community station in Salford which is volunteer-led by the people in the community.
“This is a really good having those conversations coming from the community and encouraging: peer-to-peer communication is important when you are talking about hate crime.”
“This funding allows for people and groups to have that conversation and and create those spaces to have that dialogue so that’s really important.”
— Salford City Council (@SalfordCouncil) February 7, 2019
Salford CVS has also aimed to raise awareness within the LGBTQ+ community and disabled community, as hate crimes within these groups are among the most unreported crimes.
Anne explains that it is “very difficult” to distinguish the reasons behind unreported incidents.
On disability, she says: “People with learning disabilities do not understand some times that hate crime is being committed upon them. The police has been targeting the carers to report hate crime incidents on behalf of people who may not realise that hate crime is committed upon them.”
Anne says these issues can arise from different groups of people lacking an understanding of one another.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]There are communities who are new to this country and have experienced a displacement from their home countries coming into Salford.[/su_pullquote]
“It’s often down to a lack of understanding within those groups. Some of the work that we are doing around Salford with these grants is enabling those organisations to do outreach into their community, sharing stories from their cultures, or sharing food.
“Some of the projects include food and that’s a brilliant way of breaking down barriers; I think it’s about creating an understanding because there are often shared life experiences.
“There are communities who are new to this country and have experienced a displacement from their home countries coming into Salford.
“A lot more of understanding is created if you start to share stories, and share your life experiences and see that there is actually a lot more similarities than differences.”
Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from Monday February 4 until Sunday February 10.
* To find out more about where to report hate crime incidents, click here.