Hate crime avengers: East London boroughs join forces to tackle ‘menace’ of prejudice attacks
- Credit: Archant
Organisations across east London have joined forces to deal with the rising “menace of hate crime”.
Dubbed the Community Against Hate Crime (CAHC) project, Redbridge Equalities & Community Council (RECC) has teamed up with organisations in Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Waltham Forest and Enfield to “eradicate” the problem thanks to funding from the Mayor of London.
According to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), 1,173 hate crime incidents were reported in Redbridge between June 2014 and June 2017, with 450 of them taking place in the last 12 months of the data set.
David Landau of RECC said hate crime is driven by prejudices against particular groups in society on the grounds of race, faith, disability, sexuality, gender, gender assignment, migrant status, and Gypsies and Travellers status.
“These prejudices are all too common and so people feel isolated and fearful when hate crime is on the increase,” he said.
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“But we believe that there are many in every neighbourhood who want to stand up against this behaviour and this project intends to tap into that resource of human solidarity as well as providing advice and support for victims of hate crime who need to know what do and who to turn to.”
The number of hate crimes committed in Havering during the same time period was recorded as 846.
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Although this data may seem better in comparison to Redbridge, David said that organisations are only “seeing the tip of the iceberg in the borough”.
“More incidents are going on in Havering, but they are not getting reported and there is no equality organisation set up there”, he added.”
“Also we have seen that the attacks are more physical, a lot more nasty, in Havering. There are known pockets of hate in Harold Hill.
“This project will extend into Havering and we are hoping to address it.”
The CAHC scheme has several aims ranging from setting up a multi-borough crime advise and advocacy service, to establishing a community witness support team and leafleting hotspots.
School, youth clubs and community organisations will also be given presentations about how to report hate crime and what to do if you are targeted or witness it.
In Newham, between 2014 and 2017, 1,517 hate crime incidents were reported.
Director of Right and Equalities in Newham (REIN), Paul Leslie said the result of the EU referendum has riled up community tensions.
“Diverse communities face an ever-increasing challenge, to live without fear in a changing society, where levels of threat are increasing and cultural awareness and understanding are under threat,” he said.
“Brexit and all the economic concerns this brings has increased community tensions in communities across the country, leading to increased incidents of crime and increased feelings of vulnerability within BAME communities.
“This partnership initiative aims to facilitate community voice, provide access to support networks that enable people to feel safe, increase confidence and reduce isolation and have a positive impact on the lives of the people we support.”
More than 1,000 incidents were flagged up in Barking and Dagenham.
Jenifer Kangwagyi, manager of Barking and Dagenham Racial Equality Council, said: “People don’t know that hate crime is a crime.
“They need to know the shapes and forms it comes in and they need to know that it is punishable and should be reported.”
The partnership project also hopes to set up a support group for victims of hate crime, allowing them to help each other and to provide them with a “collective platform” to talk to the appropriate authorities about the problems they are facing.
David added: “There are many people of good will who oppose hate crime and who would not just walk on by if they knew what to do about it.
“Please invite us to speak to your group, and contact us if you want to volunteer, if you are suffering hate crime or know that there are problems in your area.”
Call 020 8551 8178.