National charity Stop Hate UK has introduced a 24-hour helpline dedicated to supporting residents affected by hate crime.
Hate crimes are when people are targeted because of their disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other form of their personal identity. Last year 24,000 Croydon residents signed Say No To Hate pledges as part of the council’s zero tolerance campaign.
The new service will give victims and witnesses a safe and confidential space to talk about their experiences with trained staff and volunteers, as well as advice on appropriate action and accessing further help. The helpline will support those affected by both hate crimes and hate incidents.
The Stop Hate helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year on 0800 138 1625. The helpline is also available by text message on 07717 989 025 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service users with hearing impairments can report via interactive British Sign Language by following the link on www.stophateuk.org. Victims and witnesses can also chat on the web or fill in an online form by visiting www.stophateuk.org/talk.
Residents can also contact the Stop Hate UK helpline anonymously if they prefer. However, if someone does opt to give their personal details to Stop Hate UK, staff will request consent before passing on information to the police or the council. Reporting cases to the police will be encouraged to help ensure that those affected by hate, in any form, are signposted to access the correct support. Where necessary, staff will assess potential dangers and vulnerability of the callers and be able to make safeguarding referrals.
“We are able to support people who feel they have nowhere else to turn,” said Rose Simkins, Stop Hate UK’s chief executive.
“Contact with our helpline might be the first time an individual has talked to someone about the things they are experiencing. Other people may have tried to get help but find they are not satisfied with the response they received.
“No one should have to suffer hate crime in silence. Sadly, the occurrence of hate crime has increased nationally but, working together with the council, statutory and community bodies, we can help to make a difference in Croydon.”
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