Normanton - General

SpectrumD launches ACT against Hate Crime project

Hate in society is pervasive, and can happen to a broad spectrum of people in a variety of ways. Why a person “hates” someone else to such an extent that they commit a crime against that individual is down to oppression. The “hate” can manifest itself in violent ways, but lower level bullying, harassment, and name-calling can be equally distressing to the victim in a way that significantly undermines their quality of life.

Although a Hate Crime is generally registered when someone is subject to prejudice or hostility because of disability , race, gender, sexual orientation, transgender, religion or beliefs it can extend to include anyone who has been affected through being “different”.

Everyone has a right to be different, to be safe in being different, and not to be intimidated because of their difference.

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SpectrumD, based in the Mandela Centre, in Normanton, under the leadership of Sonya Robotham, has, at its heart, the ethos of equality, human rights, diversity, and community cohesion. Funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, they have launched a pilot project, for one year, to:

“address the needs of victims by raising awareness, building capacity and creating safer communities in which hate crime is met with zero tolerance and the voices of victims are clearly heard”

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The project is formally titled “ACT (All Communities Together) against Hate” and will address the harm of hate crime on 3 fronts:
– Working to build “victim/survivor” voice and capacity
– Working with perpetrators and those in danger of becoming perpetrators and with communities to create allies
– Raising awareness of hate crimes towards building a zero tolerance.

There are other aspects of the programme including:

– Training
– Support and advice with a 24hr hotline 0800 043 1181
– Stay Safe scheme – places that have declared themselves zero-tolerance areas
– Poetry writing competition for 11-18 year olds
– Exhibition in Hate Crime week
– Third Party reporting centre
– EduHate programme

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The success of the project will not be based on how many people have been “sheep-dipped” on the subject of hate crime, but how it has made a positive impact on the understanding, perception, of this type of crime, and how it has actually helped victims. Also, as this is a pilot project, another success will be that a working model has been developed which is capable of being sustained for the long term which integrates with other agencies and partnerships. This is what makes it a robust initiative, and one that is more credible than other projects.

The launch today was attended by Alan Charles, the Police and Crime Commissioner, plus invited guests from Derby City Council, Police, NHS, and local community groups. In addition to providing a brief overview of the project, and a viewing of a powerful film from the University of Leicester,

it also facilitated networking amongst the committed sections of the community who will work together on this project.

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In 2015, UKIP is practically mainstream and is providing a platform for propagating bigoted views about “foreigners” and “immigrants”. It legitimises, and de-sensitises many to slightly more extreme forms of prejudice speech, grounded in ignorance, which is in danger of creating a rise in “acceptable” hate-speech. Together with a conservative, self-centred, self-indulgent, one-dimensional view on the nature of society entrenched in a nostalgia for a mythical country it is creating the urgency for this nature of project, and a re-focussing and re-alignment on what it means to respect and tolerate people regardless of their differences and, after all, one day, we may all be that “different” person at some stage in our lives.

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