Major seminar puts hate crime in focus

The need to challenge the scourge of so-called ‘hate crime’ across the Mid & East Antrim Borough has been at the centre of major council seminar.

The council, alongside PSNI and Mid and East Antrim Inter-Ethnic Forum hosted the ‘Challenge of Change’ seminar as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2017

The event was part of a weeklong campaign to raise awareness of hate crime and the impact it has on those affected and the wider community. The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid said “National Hate Crime Awareness Week aims to bring people together, to stand with those affected by hate crime and support those who need our ongoing support.

“We are one Borough with many cultures and I hope this important event will play a part in raising the profile of hate crime, prevent fear and promote diversity.

“Building Stronger, Safe and Healthy Communities is a key priority for Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and we will endeavor to ensure that everyone who lives here feels welcome, safe, respected and celebrated.”

The seminar focused on raising awareness of hate crime, encouraging statutory and community organisations work together to challenge and respond to hate crime. It also explored ways to prevent hate crime and how to empower communities to report such crimes.

Chair of the Mid and East Antrim PCSP Cllr Brian Collins said, “Hate crime is completely unacceptable and a scourge on our society. We must work together to stamp it out once and for all. This event is a clear sign of how the Mid and East Antrim PCSP is actively working with partners to address this serious issue and build a better future for all the Citizens in the Borough.”

Ivy Goddard, Director of the Inter Ethnic Forum said, “Historically, hate crime has been under-reported, and the Inter Ethnic Forum would encourage victims to come forward and report to the Police. Everyone has the right to live in peace and the Inter Ethnic Forum provides help and support to those who have suffered racial discrimination and harassment.”

The event was supported by the Executive Office through Mid and East Antrim Council’s Good Relations Programme, Mid and East Antrim PSNI, Mid and East Antrim PCSP and the Inter-Ethnic Forum (Mid and East Antrim).