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Sutton Scene - Leader of the Council Column 07/08/20

Published Thursday, 6th August 2020

Last week a large number of Sutton councillors took part in a training session run by Stop Hate UK.

We are all aware of the growing number of hate crimes in our society and how important it is to report it when it occurs and to recognise the destructive harm it causes to the victim.

Hate crime is a term that covers a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility towards another person's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. It can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault, bullying and damage to property. We heard how many hate crimes go unreported and how important it is to raise awareness of hate crime and understand the impact it has on those affected. It makes the victim feel isolated, worthless and scared, and in some cases has led to them taking their own lives.

As councillors, we are determined to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination based on any aspect of a person's identity. We believe that everyone in Sutton is a valued member of our community and should be free to live their lives without fear. 

So many crimes go unreported and we want to encourage anyone who is a victim of hate crime to come forward and report it on the Stop Hate UK website or by ringing their 24 hour helpline 0800 138 1625. If you are in immediate danger, it's best to ring 999.

Victims of hate crime often say that even more hurtful than the attack itself was the fact that no-one intervened, no-one spoke up or showed compassion or support. The silent bystander who witnessed the aggression but turned a blind eye made the victim feel even more alone and abandoned. If you do witness a hate crime, we heard that the best course of action is not necessarily to challenge the aggressor but to go up to the victim, talk to them to show solidarity and kindness and encourage them to report what has happened.

You can contact the Stop Hate Line anonymously if you prefer. Where someone has chosen to give their personal details to Stop Hate UK, their trained staff and volunteers will ask who they want their details to be shared with. The charity can also share information with the police and Council, with consent, to ensure that those affected by hate crime, in any way, can access the support they need.

No-one should have to suffer hate crime in silence.