Hate Crime Awareness Week 2022

Logo of National Hate Crime Awareness Week. Slogan: "Stop Hate. Start Here."

Today marks the start of Hate Crime Awareness Week.  This is a significant week that Prejudice Free Dorset supports every year, because it gives us an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of what hate crime is and to encourage victims to come forward.

Prejudice Free Dorset (PFD) is a partnership organisation made up of local agencies that seeks to promote inclusive communities across Dorset. The organisation works together to challenge prejudice in Dorset so that all individuals can go about their daily lives safely and with confidence.

By working together, Prejudice Free Dorset provides information and education to the public and other organisations, on hate crime and hate incidents.

We are working to build the confidence of all communities to come forward and report hate incidents and crimes. We are here to provide support and advice where it’s needed.

The theme for the Hate Crime Awareness Week 2022 is “We stand together against racism in the UK”.

One of the main partners of Prejudice Free Dorset is Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC). They are an independent charity set up to specifically tackle racism, or any form of ethnic or cultural hatred.

DREC look to inform, educate and support victims regarding race/ethnic relations.

This includes:

  • eliminate and counter misunderstanding and negative political propaganda
  • raise awareness of race/ethnic equality issues with both public sector organisations and private businesses
  • challenge prejudice and disadvantage and promote the importance of a diverse society
  • inform minority ethnic individuals of their rights
  • strengthen community relations in Dorset
  • work with partner organisations to influence policy and combat racial discrimination and racial violence to uphold both the letter and the spirit of EU and UK law.

Bringing together partners across Purbeck

On the 29th of June, the National Trust and Prejudice Free Dorset ran a collaboration workshop looking at diversity and inclusion across the Purbeck Heaths landscape. The event brought together local community groups, landowners, land managers, parish councillors, and businesses – and for the first time created a space for EDI (equity, diversity & inclusion) conversations to be held in Purbeck.

The first workshop focussed on race equity, and began with presentations from keynote speaker Dr Anjana Khatwa, Tina Symington from Prejudice Free Dorset and Nathalie Sherring from Dorset Race Equality Council. For many, this shone a light on topics and themes that were previously not understood or even on people’s radar. It opened minds, brought up questions, and resulted in a buzz of energy for what we should be doing in Purbeck. Following the presentations, workshop activities took place to discuss the issues, the barriers, and the solutions for how Purbeck can be a place that truly welcomes all.

Together with the National Trust, the attendees of the EDI event form the Equity and Diversity Working Group of Purbeck. This group is part of the Sustainable Tourism Plan for the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve. More information of the plan and the NNR can be found here.

The need to talk EDI in Purbeck has been growing for a long time. Purbeck is complex, a place where visitors have always been othered as grockles and where locals feel displaced from their own landscape. Tourists are blamed for the busy roads, over-filled bins, and the space and tranquillity of Purbeck disappearing. Underserved communities from BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole) see Purbeck as a predominantly ‘white landscape’ which does not provide a nature offer for them. Then on the flip side, there are local kids in Purbeck that have never spent a day at the beach because they cannot get there or do not feel like it is for them. The exclusions come from all angles, targeting all audiences, and so developing Purbeck as a place where everyone feels welcome is no easy feat.

“I think nature in Purbeck is cool and a good variety, but there is no access to places like Studland from Swanage if I wanted to go by myself.”

Year 10 student from Swanage School

It was time for action. With such complex problems that have been brewing for years, the solution could not come from one group or organisation. Partnerships and collaborative working were the only way to understand and act on the numerous themes at hand. Over the past few years, National Trust worked closely with Prejudice Free Dorset to understand the context and lend a hand. Meanwhile, the Sustainable Tourism Plan brought partners from across Purbeck together, where conversation of mixed audiences wanting different offers came up time and time again.

The result is like the beginning of a very long book. The Equity and Diversity Working Group in Purbeck is now established, we have the support and involvement of Prejudice Free Dorset and Dorset Race Equality Council, as well as underserved community groups from BCP. The space has been formed, the commitments from partners are flowing and a programme with training and events is in action. We may only be at the start of the story, but the book has certainly begun.

“My personal commitment now is to actively engage with diverse communities and nurture long lasting connection and collaborations”

Feedback from an attendee of the collaboration event

Note: Photographs taken by PFD members for the PFD website

Making Purbeck a place for everyone

How can we make sure everyone feels welcome in Purbeck? Share your ideas!

Join us at Knoll Beach next Wednesday (13th) between 9am and 12pm for a pop-up community event – and let us know your thoughts on how we could ensure the Isle of Purbeck is a welcoming place for all.

We’ll be joined by colleagues from the National Trust, Citizens Advice, Dorset Police, Planet Purbeck, Purbeck Youth & Community Foundation and RSPB, as well as partners from the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve.

Any questions? Contact the PFD team here.

Reflecting on Race Equality Week 2022

Last week we marked Race Equality Week 2022. One of our members, the Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC), has been at the forefront of bringing the annual UK-wide movement to Dorset, hoping to be a catalyst for race equality in the workplace.

What is Race Equality Week?

This year, thousands of organisations joined together in solidarity with one mission in mind: eradicating barriers to race equality within their own work environment. The Black Lives Matter movement at the height of the pandemic proved that actions speak louder than words. Therefore, this year’s awareness week was focused on organisations taking #ActionNotJustWords. Now is the time to be proactive, in a huge push towards a more equal United Kingdom.

Taking part in Race Equality Week is crucial to making sure everyone, of all races and ethnic backgrounds, can thrive. The week provides a space to hold serious conversation and inspire definitive action. With power in numbers and growing awareness, stamping out discrimination and racism within the workplace is achievable, and it’s happening now!

Individuals as well as organisations across the UK got involved by implementing Race Equality Matters Solutions, joining public events, running their own activities, and sponsoring Race Equality Week. This week happens annually, but hard work across the UK should continue every day, so that total race equality can be our reality.

Race Equality Week in Dorset

DREC spent this year’s Race Equality Week giving light to many exciting initiatives. The organisation showcased a passionate new ambassador – who shared exactly why she believes race equality is so important.

The work didn’t stop there, however, as awareness was brought to the powerful and inspiring work of caseworkers to support victims of harassment. Giving a voice to people with lived experiences of race inequality is always a step in the right direction, so DREC gave opportunity to their clients to tell their own encounters with racism.

DREC feels strongly about celebrating our differences rather than hating them, as diversity enriches our culture. The EU Settlement Scheme is crucial to making Europeans feel at home in the UK after Brexit, and so the scheme’s Officer shared her story of applying for immigration status.

The final post for DREC’s Race Equality Week was about the Prostate Cancer in Black men Project: creating awareness of the increased risk of Black men developing the disease, offering education and guidance on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Overall, an encouraging and successful awareness week at DREC.

Spreading the love, street by street

Organisations from across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – including BCP Council, faith groups, schools and businesses – are joining forces to help residents renew their sense of belonging, support and friendliness, which they experienced during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

As part of the BCP council area’s ‘As One’ campaign, the message ‘Fill your street with friendliness’ will be displayed from Valentine’s Day onwards, on hundreds of large banners across the borough. From the spring, dozens of local As One events will be held to help the message take root in each locality.

The idea is to encourage a sense of connection, kindness, friendliness and belonging between people who live on the same street – and aims to be a huge boost for elderly people, young families, single people and essentially everyone!

Dozens of churches and other faith groups, community centres and other BCP area partners are preparing to host ‘As One’ Tea Party events, each for their own neighbourhood. There, residents from each local street will be introduced to the idea of starting a Street Association for their own street, with the aim of keeping the friendliness going long after the pandemic has ended.

In many local areas, an As One memorial service will also be held, ahead of the tea party, to remember the anxiety, isolation, loss and bereavement experienced by so many over the last two years – and to help bring a measure of peace and ‘closure’. The subsequent tea party then seeks to focus on the key ‘positive’ of the pandemic: the burst of community spirit – and help it flourish for the long term.

The two-metre banner, introducing a design which is being picked up in other parts of the UK, focuses its encouragement on ‘your street’ – as Street Associations led by local residents have been shown over 10 years to be a popular way of getting people together. They encourage residents to organise events like a children’s party, a barbecue, quiz night or a trip away – just for one’s own street.

With an agenda of ‘friendship, fun, belonging, a helping hand’, the prize is that everyone gradually gets to know everyone, friendliness is released, isolation is addressed, fun is had and practical help flows to residents who may need it. Community events are anticipated to take place from the spring, with the Platinum Jubilee as a key incentive to get neighbourly communication going in time. The strap-line for Street Associations is ‘Love my street’, making a Valentine’s Day launch most appropriate!

Residents are encouraged to find out more about starting a Street Association where they live – see as-one.uk/bcp for more details of how to get it going. There is also an invitation to help spread the As One vision on social media:

Councillor Jane Kelly, Lead Member for Communities, BCP Council, says:  “I fully support the As One initiative.  BCP Council has an ambition to create vibrant communities where everyone plays an active role and feels a sense of pride where they live, and As One really supports that.

“We have seen a growth of friendships, mutual support, and a sense of community in individual community areas during lockdown and in responding to the pandemic, and As One across the BCP Council area will ensure that we maintain that as we come out of COVID-19 restrictions and move ‘back to normal’. I would encourage every resident across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to find out more about Street Associations, and, with others in their road, to be involved in this simple way of bringing people together at the most local of levels.”

The Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne and acting Bishop of Salisbury, says, “In these days of fruitful partnerships between churches and civic authorities, I was delighted when the diocesan Aldhelm Fund awarded a grant of £5000 to the As One initiative for the BCP area.

“As Christians, we obviously give a high priority to loving our neighbours, and an increase in the number of Street Associations can only lead to real friendships and a growing sense of community at street level. The prospect of neighbours, of all faiths and none, becoming friends in the road where they live can lead to all sorts of transformative action.”

As One BCP is part of pioneering As One UK, along with Worcestershire, Birmingham and Dudley in the first ‘wave’ – with other towns, cities and counties preparing to take part.  It draws from Birmingham’s successful 2018-20 ‘Permission to Smile’ campaign.

ContactsJulie Munson, for BCP Council, julie.munson@bcpcouncil.gov.uk; Paul Hockley, BCP churches-based local coordinator, bcp@as-one.uk, 01202 730626; Martin Graham, As One UK office@as-one.uk, 07931 282716.

David Sidwick: Hate crime has no place in our society

By David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Dorset

As we reflect on national Hate Crime Awareness Week, I wanted to dedicate my blog to raising awareness and encouraging the reporting of this offence to the police.

Let me begin by saying that hate crime, in any form, is abhorrent, the ignorance and prejudice that the perpetrators of this crime have no place in our society.

Home Office statistics say that nationally, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded in the year to March 2021 – 92,052 race hate crimes, 6,377 religious hate crimes, 18,596 sexual-orientation hate crimes, 9,943 disability hate crimes and 2,799 transgender hate crimes.

To see a figure of over 92,000 race hate crimes is concerning, especially during Black History Month, an event which is all about understanding, learning and celebrating the contributions made to our society by African, Asian and Caribbean people.

However, I would like to pick up on one specific type of hate crime which I feel rarely gets the attention and coverage that it should – disability hate crime.

Disability hate crime has had the largest percentage increase of all hate crimes in Dorset and is largely forgotten.

Giving victims a voice and raising awareness of the effects of disability hate crime is a key factor in tacking the issue. My office is currently working with the Force on making a short film where local people share their experiences and talk about the impact of hate crime on them.

To have people with a diverse range of protected characteristics talking about how they have been affected will, I hope, be a powerful and encouraging motivator to others who have experienced hate crime but not felt able to report it to the police.

The OPCC funds Restorative Justice, a victim-focused scheme by which victims tell offenders the real impact of their crime and as part of that scheme, a Hate Crime Awareness Course is being developed to deal with low-level hate crime cases. This is to challenge perpetrators on the impact of their behaviour both on victims and on themselves.

This course uses examples of hate crime and how it affected victims, and it works with perpetrators to identify how they might behave differently in future. If victims want it, feedback is given to them on the outcome of the course.

In response to the increase in the number of hate crimes being reported, the Home Office said the rise have been driven by improvements in recording, growing awareness, and a better identification of what constitutes a hate crime.

Increased reporting helps the police understand what is happening in our communities and how best to tackle it – so please – report hate crime.

I want people to know that hate crime has no place in Dorset and that I will work tirelessly to encourage tolerance, acceptance, kindness and understanding across our county – after all, the only true measure of goodness is the nobility of the human heart.

Hate Crime Awareness Week ends

During this year’s national Hate Crime Awareness Week (HCAW), Prejudice Free Dorset organised several events.

Dr Raymond Davies, Chair of the PFD Business Sub-group, spoke at the Bournemouth Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday 13th October, highlighting the importance of collaboration between PFD and businesses across Dorset.

Dr Davies then continued the activates on Thursday 14th October and said he was “looking forward to being on Falkland Square to hand out Prejudice Free Dorset leaflets to the general public as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week along with BCP Council staff, National Trust staff and Dorset Police.”

They reported that local businesses were very keen to get involved in raising awareness of PFD and how to report a hate crime. This was an initiative of the PFD Business Sub-group, and forms part of our strategy for the integration of the Dorset business community.

Although HCAW 2021 is coming to an end, the PFD Business Sub-group will be targeting Poole in 2022, coinciding with the PFD Conference in March. The group is planning a full day of activities at Poole Bus Station, the Dolphin Shopping Centre and along the High Street.

People First Forum: A safe place for all

Tina Symington, BCP Community Safety Officer, in conversation with Amanda and Paul from PFD member People First Forum

For national Hate Crime Awareness Week, Prejudice Free Dorset talked to Amanda Frost and Paul Thomas from PFD member People First Forum (PFF), an organisation which gives adults with learning disabilities a voice in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

As Amanda and Paul explain, members can benefit from keepsake advice, help if they are victims of a hate crime, and access to a safe space. PFF works with services such as Dorset Police to ensure adults with learning disabilities are safe and free from prejudice. Watch the full interview with Amanda and Paul below.

PFD’s members include statutory public bodies, charities, as well as community and voluntary groups. Read more about them here.

A guide to 3rd party reporting

During Hate Crime Awareness Week, Prejudice Free Dorset is raising awareness of the important role third party reporting centres play in combatting hate crime.

Is your organisation interested in becoming a third party reporting centre? Watch the video below to hear from Nathalie Sherring, Chief Executive of PFD member Dorset Race Equality Council, about what the role entails.

Tina Symington, BCP Community Safety Officer, in conversation with Nathalie Sherring, Chief Executive of DREC

Kushti Bok: Giving gypsies & travellers a voice

Tina Symington, BCP Community Safety Officer, in conversation with Betty Smith-Billington, Chair of Kushti Bok Dorset

Ahead of national Hate Crime Awareness Week, Prejudice Free Dorset caught up with Betty Smith-Billington, Chair of long-standing member Kushti Bok Dorset.

As Betty explains, Kushti Bok is a volunteer-led organisation which helps ensure gypsies and travellers in Dorset have a voice. These minorities are still wrongly targeted with negative labels and media attention, and Kushti Bok sheds light on these issues.

Organisations of this type are few and far between, and so their work is not only important, but also progressive. Watch the full interview with Betty below.

PFD’s members include statutory public bodies, charities, as well as community and voluntary groups. Read more about them here.