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Marking Greater Manchester Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019

Published: 08 February 2019 Tags: By Jessica White

This week marks Greater Manchester Hate Crime Awareness Week. I started working at LGBT Foundation four years ago and in the time that I have been here, I am so glad to have seen the massive growth of this week and the stand that community members are willing to take against hate across the city. Each year, more and more people get involved to take a stand and I think that is so important for the message we want to send about what we as a city represent.

We know that an increased awareness of hate crime and hate crime reporting is having a big impact on our community members. More and more, we are having people come to us who have been experiencing hate for a long period of time – prolonged abuse, often in their communities – who are finally coming forward to report. These will often be people who have been experiencing hate for years, see a poster on the tram, on the bus, or on the train and realise that it’s not okay and there is support there for them.

Even though we are getting more and more reports every year, things are moving in the right direction. For us, this increasing number of reports is indicative of how people are feeling more comfortable to say this is not okay, and to get support. However, we also know that unfortunately in some ways, hatred is growing. In Manchester, we have recently seen an increase in hateful transphobic statements – which is a reminder of why the work we are doing to take a stand against hate crime and to support victims is so important.

So what can we do as LGBT Foundation? When people come to us we - as a third party reporting centre - are able to help them report them to the police (anonymously if they wish) to have action taken and bring an end to the hatred. We are also able to support people with what they have experienced. Because hate crimes attack people for who they are the emotional impact is huge, with research suggesting victims of hate crime are twice as likely to be extremely emotionally impacted by the crime than victims of other crimes. Victims will have spent years suppressing who they are, and feeling the need to hide, and so will be anxious, depressed and often very socially isolated.

Everyone deserves to be able to live true to themselves, and we are pleased to be able to support victims to overcome what they have experienced and say that we are here if they need us. I am pleased that there are so many other organisations and support groups across the city doing the very same, so that everyone has the best possible experience of being who they are.