Just before Christmas the team at Portsmouth Disability Forum were pleased to welcome Gavin Brechany, from St Thomas Neighbourhood Police Team, Disability Support Network (Core Member) Divisional Hate Crime Working Group (Core Member) - a bit of a mouthful but what he had to say was really interesting.
Gavin himself became disabled following an accident so has a personal interest in hate crime towards disabled people.
I don’t know about you but I would hazard a guess that at some time most of us experience abuse of some kind, for many of us we would not recognise it as a ‘hate crime’, we maybe put it down to ignorance and move on.
Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s:
- race or ethnicity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
This can be committed against a person or property.
A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime.
The majority of hate crimes and hate incidents are not emergencies and therefore do not need to be reported in quite the same way through a 999 call.
True Vision is a national web based hate crime resource. It is packed with information for clients, practitioners and investigators.
Here at Portsmouth Disability Forum, we have become third party reporters. That is to say, if someone comes into our centre and mentions anything we would recognise as a hate crime, we will support them in reporting it using the True Vision website.
I think for many of us we would worry about the repercussions of making such a report. Well we were assured any action taken would be with the person’s agreement and in most situations a restorative approach would be taken, that is to say; if the person could be identified, the police would initiate an approach of education and awareness raising before any serious action was taken.
In most situations reporting an incident will add to the ongoing register which gives the police statistical evidence to ensure resources are maintained to keep the website going and the work of officers like Gavin in our communities.
If you would like to know more, or sadly want to report an incident, do come into the Centre anytime Monday – Friday from 10am-4pm where a member of our team will be more than happy to help you.