Mansfield District Council has joined forces with Nottinghamshire Police and other local authorities in the county to raise awareness of how to report hate crimes and the help available to victims.
As part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, which starts on Saturday 9 October, the police and members of the council's Community Safety team will go door to door in target areas in the district, speaking to residents and giving out a council leaflet.
The council will also be raising awareness of the issue in a social media campaign in the coming week to share information about what defines a hate crime, how to report it and where to find victim support.
Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, Housing and Wellbeing, said: "The council takes hate crimes very seriously and it is a feature of the Safer Streets initiative in the district.
"Most people probably know hate crimes cover all forms of racist abuse and attacks, and that includes attacks on people in the traveller and gypsy community.
"But they can also involve people who are gay, lesbian or transgender, older people, or people with a disability, or those who have certain faith or religious beliefs.
"And attacks do not just have to be physical to be classed as a hate crime. They could be verbal or online or involve damage to property.
"No one should have to suffer abuse of this kind in silence and support is out there for victims of these types of crimes.
"It should also be emphasised that crimes can also be reported by witnesses, or third parties, as well as victims themselves."
Inspector Nick Butler, district commander for Mansfield, said: “As police officers it is our job to protect everyone in our community. To do that effectively we need to build strong and trusting relationships that give people the confidence they need to come forward and seek our help.
“I am aware that in the past some victims of hate crime have been reluctant to report incidents to us. Some people may be afraid to come forward and others may even be unaware that the behaviours they have fallen victim to are actually criminal in nature.
“Others may wrongly assume that the police have better things to do and don’t want to have to deal with these incidents. But that simply is not the case. It is absolutely unacceptable for any member of our community to be abused, harassed or assaulted in this way and we will continue to do whatever we can to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
“We also know that hate crimes can escalate over time – from name calling to more serious instances of assault. We have a responsibility to intervene in these incidents and to help people affected. That’s why we’re going out door-to-door this week to engage directly with people we either know have been victims in the past or we suspect could be victims in future."
A hate crime is defined as any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be driven by hatred or hostility because of one or more of the following:
- race, ethnicity and nationality
- religion, faith or belief
- gender identity
- sexual preference
They can be targeted at individuals, families and groups of people and take the form of a physical assault, verbal abuse, threats, name calling, harassment, damage to property, arson or cyber bullying.
More details are on our hate crime webpage.
As well as victims, witnesses to a hate crime or a third party reporting on behalf of a witness or victim, can report an incident by calling the police on 101 or Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111.
They can also be reported online on Nottinghamshire Police's hate crime webpage (opens in new window) or on the Crimestoppers website (opens in new window).
For people who do not want to deal directly with the police, they can also report hate crimes on True Vision's website (opens in new window). The police will still record and investigate an alleged offence even if you do not want to give your details.
For victims of homophobic and transgender hate crimes there is support available on the national organisation Stop Hate UK's website (opens in new window).