Would you know if you were the victim of a hate crime? Transpire founder Gina reports from the recent Transpire educational event which featured two talks, one on the topic of HIV and the other on the topic of hate crime.
On the 17th August 2016 at the SAVS premises Neil gave a talk in relation to hate crime to some of our Transpire members, joined by Sojourner Seaton from the Terence Higgins Trust who gave a presentation around HIV awareness. It was great to see some of our more recent new joiners to the group coming along, taking a leap of faith and getting to know each other. Some great ideas came out of it that could benefit our wider membership. Both Neil and Sojourner gave us much food for thought. Neil in relation to our responsibilities to report and safeguard ourselves in relation to hate incidents and Sojourner similarly raising our awareness in relation to safer sex, and the risks posed by HIV. It really proved to be an education. It also got me thinking about my own experience of hate crime…
When I was walking to work early one morning last summer, I had a disagreement with a motorist as to who had right of way. His response , winding down his window, was to shout at me, “You F**** Transvestite Mother******!!”. I shrugged my shoulders, carried on walking, thinking, “That’s like calling somebody from China, Japanese “. I felt that I had embraced my fears, being confronted in public as a trans person, by a bigot. It hadn’t been so bad, and I went in to work oblivious of what had actually Just had happened; I had just become a victim of hate crime. And I had not even considered that, and I’m a Police officer.
I think many people suffer some form of hate related incidents, and just think, a bit like I did, that it comes with our world, we just have to put up with it, that’s just how it is. Many probably think that the Police won’t do anything about it, or it would take up the Police’ time. What I hadn’t considered there could have been other ways to report what had happened to me that I was completely unaware of. And even if the incident does not amount to a criminal offence, but it is still motivated by hate, it can still be reported and recorded. I’m sure that is something many people don’t realise either.
The realisation that I SHOULD have reported what had happened to me is when I met Neil Monk from Essex Victim Support at the premises of Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS) earlier this year after we formed Transpire. Neil explained that Victim Support are co-coordinating a project with the Strategic Hate Crime Prevention Partnership to look at how they could can increase confidence in reporting crime that targets communities under the protected characteristics – ethnicity, faith, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
He explained that his work covered the whole of Essex and the feedback he received would help shape how services develop their response to hate crime. It would also effectively communicate the impact of hate crime and how it affects it’s victims to the partners that make strategic decisions about hate crime around the county.
What he also explained to me was that around the country are various third party reporting centres, which made me realise that I didn’t even have to go in to a Police station to report a hate crime incident.
The more we spoke, the more I realised the importance of reporting hate incidents. Not just about anything that happened directly to us but any we witness too , even if it seems minor or we don’t want to go down the policing route. He explained there are a couple of options available:
- To report at a third party reporting centre, a place other than a police station to report hate crime. You can report anonymously at these locations if preferred.List of locations at: http://www.stopthehate.org.uk/hircs/
- To report online on the TrueVision website. This can be a report to the police or an anonymous report , whichever is preferred.Report online at: http://www.report-it.org.uk/home
- Crimestoppers is also an option. They take anonymous information and forward it to the police as intelligence so that the police can take action.Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report on their website at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/
And whilst we use that phrase hate ‘crime’, it doesn’t have to be a criminal offence. We can report those incidents that may not be criminal, but are still hateful. We can still get support, and make sure that that vital information about hate is in the public sphere, and where necessary organisations can address hate incidents by putting resources in to combat it. Which can only be done if they know it’s going on and where.
If anyone has any questions, or needs any advice about reporting or support following a hate incident or in relation to HIV awareness etc they can contact Neil and Sojourner as follows, or any of the committee members of Transpire , in confidence. With 165+ members our voice is gradually being heard and we can influence change-
Neil Monk from Victim Support Essex
T: 01277 357568, EXT 2578
Sojourner Seaton from the Terrance Higgins Trust
Gina Denham, Transpire Chair
Jess Hawkins, Transpire Vice-chair
Amy Bryant, Transpire Secretary
Logan Fox, Transpire Treasurer