A new national centre where victims of hate crime will be able to report hostility and prejudice and get the support they need was announced by the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert today.
The Minister made the announcement at the launch of the Welsh Government’s Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents – A Framework for Action at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff to an audience of more than 300 people.
The Framework covers hate crime of all kinds including race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and age. Age was added following a consultation in which we engaged with more than 400 people. They strongly highlighted how both older people and children and young people are experiencing and being targeted for hate crime.
The Framework also includes tackling cyber and far right hate.
Minister Jeff Cuthbert said:
“I am immensely proud that Wales is taking a lead to make sure that our communities are safe, cohesive and vibrant places for all people to live and work.
“I want the victims of hate crime to have confidence to come forward and report. The Framework and our delivery plan will aim to help them to find the confidence. This includes funding for Victim Support to run an all Wales Hate Crime Reporting Centre.
“My message to all victims of hate crime is that action will be taken. Hate in any form will not be tolerated. A culture where victims feel that they have to suffer in silence will no longer be tolerated.”
The Framework has three main aims: to prevent hate crime, provide support to victims and improve the multi-agency response.
By highlighting hate crime and setting up the support centre we expect to see an increase in reported cases. In Wales in 2012-13 there were 1,810 reported incidents of hate crime. But this is the tip of the iceberg and the Framework will help bring a change to help people become more confident to report hate crime.
Minister Jeff Cuthbert added:
“Cultural changes are needed so that future generations can live in a Wales which is equal, fair and welcoming to people from different backgrounds and cultures. We want our young people and children to grow up in a Wales where people are accepted for who they are and not judged because of the colour of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their disability or their age.”
In addition to the £488,000 funding for Victim Support reporting centre the Framework also sets out an 8-point delivery plan which will be updated annually to show what progress is being made. Later this year the Minister will set up a new Independent Advisory Group to help deliver the Framework and provide further advice and information.
Victims of hate crime can contact the Victim Support Helpline: 08456 121 900 or by visiting the web site: www.reporthate.victimsupport.org.uk.