A new 24/7 telephone helpline is being launched in Northamptonshire for all those who are directly affected by or a witness to Hate Crime, to report incidents and receive help, support, advice and guidance.
The new Northants helpline, which will be operated by Stop Hate UK – a national charity that provides independent and confidential support to people who are affected by all forms of Hate Crime – has been launched this week to mark the 10th annual National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 9th-16th).
The provision of the helpline has been made possible by joint funding being agreed by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, and the two unitary authorities of West Northamptonshire Council and North Northamptonshire Council.
Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK, said: “We are delighted to launch our helpline service in Northamptonshire. All forms of hate crime are significantly under-reported and some people and communities are reluctant or unwilling to talk to the police or their council. We are able to support people who may feel they have nowhere else to turn. Contact with our helpline, or other reporting channels, might be the first time an individual has talked to someone about the things they are experiencing. No-one should have to suffer hate crime in silence, and working together with the police, two unitary authorities and OPFCC we can help to make a difference in Northamptonshire.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold added: “Tackling Hate Crime has been an important priority for me and I am delighted to be able to help fund this helpline. The first contact for victims of Hate Crime is vitally important and if they receive a bad response they could be lost to services and never have the confidence to report again. Hopefully this helpline will demonstrate that they can access expert support and be assured that any report they make will be robustly dealt with.”
Councillor Jonathan Nunn, leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Hate Crime not only harms its victims, it also harms their families and communities. We know that too many hate crimes and incidents are not reported. If more people report Hate Crime, we can gain a better understanding of the problem and how to prevent it from happening. Reporting it also means that victims can access the support that’s available to help them recover from the experience.”
Councillor Jason Smithers, leader of North Northamptonshire Council, said: “Sadly, Hate Crime is all around us and we are often left unaware because it goes unreported. Hopefully, by raising awareness of Hate Crime, more people will know where they can go to report such activity and victims can receive the help that they need.”
And Laura Jones, Prevention Manager at Northamptonshire Police, added: “Whilst we encourage victims and witnesses to contact Police regarding Hate Crime, it’s a really positive step for the county to have an independent third party reporting facility, providing 24/7 support to victims and witnesses. We hope this service helps to bring some resolution to those who have sadly been victimised. We will continue to work together across partners to stamp out Hate Crime and are pleased to be able to bring in another partnership and service to help do this.”
The Stop Hate Line 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. British Sign Language (BSL) users can report via the interactive BSL 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
People can contact the Stop Hate Line anonymously if they prefer. Where someone has chosen to give their personal details to Stop Hate UK, their trained staff and volunteers will ask who they want their details to be shared with. The charity can also share information with the police and council, with consent, to ensure that those affected by hate crime, in any way, can access the support they need.