Added on 16 October 2017 at 13:11
Avon and Somerset Police will become the third force in the country to officially recognise gender based hate crime. This change aims to increase victim’s confidence to report incidents. The launch comes at the start of National Hate Crime Awareness Week 14 – 21st October which will focus on challenging disability, race, sexual orientation, religious, transgender and gender hate crimes.
Analysis of current crime reports indicates gender will account for 41% of hate crime in Avon and Somerset, despite the under-reporting of hate crime by women, particularly amongst transgender and Muslim communities.
Avon and Somerset Police lead for Hate Crime, Superintendent Andy Bennet says, “Recognising gender as an aggravating factor in hate crime is a huge step towards ensuring the streets and homes we live in are free from prejudice."
“We know women are less likely to report hate crime committed by strangers in public, which could be because discrimination is normalised for many women. The new category will help us improve our response to hate crime as we understand more about the discrimination people experience everyday. Our message is hate crime won’t be tolerated, we take all reports seriously and we encourage anyone who needs our help to tell us or one of our local support partners”.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens says, “Being targeted because of your age, sexuality, race, religion or gender identity is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Avon and Somerset. I am fully aware of local people’s desires to adopt gender as a Hate Crime, so I am delighted the Constabulary will now be monitoring gender as a motivation on crime locally and encouraging victims to report these crimes. We also have some fantastic charities helping to support victims and I want people know if they are suffering, there is help available.”
SARI Strategic Director, Alex Raikes MBE says, “SARI is working tirelessly, 24/7 to tackle hate crime and is seeing an increasing number of victims coming forward to courageously tell us what is happening to them. Whilst race hate remains the highest reporting category and rose significantly last year, we have also seen particular increases in reporting of disabilist, faith based and transphobic cases reported to us have more than doubled. Yet under-reporting is a huge issue. We are not seeing our Lesbian Gay and Bisexual communities coming forward and disabled people are suffering in silence all too often. We therefore welcome the recognition by Avon and Somerset of hate crime faced by women – gender hate. Women should not tolerate any form of abuse because of their gender. We hope this will further increase the wider communities’ awareness that hate crime must not be tolerated at any time.”
China Fish, campaigner against sexism in Bristol Zero Tolerance says, “Gender based violence is a prolific occurrence. With news of the recent Stanford study showing that throughout the world, women walk disproportionately less than men in order to protect their safety, we have to be taking note. Street harassment is a serious societal issue that has significant impacts on people’s lives. Having a gender hate crime category will help give victims the confidence that the problem is being taken seriously and lead to a stronger feeling of safety in the community. It certainly won’t solve the problem overnight but it is a step in the right direction for much needed change. As we have seen from Nottingham’s creation of misogyny as a hate crime, having this category in place has done just that. I hope to see it rolled out nationwide- it’s about time. ”
Avon and Somerset Police Officer and racial hate crime victim says, “Don’t let Hate Crime go unreported, is never acceptable and it definitely shouldn’t be tolerated or considered ‘part of the job’ whatever industry you are in.”
Despite a 46% increase in hate crime reports across the region since 2015, it’s anticipated two in five hate crimes still aren’t reported to the police (Crime Survey of England & Wales). The Police have made improvements in recording hate crime which partially accounts for the growth; however there have also been real-world increases in certain types of hate crime.
National Hate Crime Awareness Week activity wraps up on Friday 20th October with a Facebook Live hosted by Force lead for Hate Crime, Superintendent Andy Bennet, SARI Strategic Director, Alex Davis and Lighthouse lead for Hate Crime, Rob Fortune, from 1800hrs to 1900hrs. It aims to provide a platform for people to ask any questions about hate crime and gender or any areas including victim care through to reporting, policing and community support.