Beaten up. Jaw broken. Verbally abused. Singled out. Pelted with stones.
These are just a handful of the horrific experiences of hate crime victims in the Humberside force area – and it needs to stop now.
Although there has been a fall of 6.6 per cent in reported hate crimes in this area (from 561 between March 2014 to Feb 2015, to 524 between March 2015 and Feb 2016), it is known to be an under reported issue in all areas of the UK.
Today we are drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough – that Being You Is Not A Crime – Targeting You Is.
The campaign, being run in partnership with our four local authorities and Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter, aims to highlight to victims and offenders that hate crime will not be tolerated in our area.
Officers are also keen to encourage those who have been targeted to come forward, not to suffer in silence.
As part of the campaign victims were asked to take part in a short survey about their experiences.
Today we have chosen to share some of their shocking experiences with you in the hope that by highlighting this horrific treatment, our communities will stand together to say no to hate.
Among the responses were:
- Disabled East Yorkshire man: “I have been called speccy-eyed, four-eyed, deafo, spastic… that sort of thing. It’s happened at work, in the street, on nights out. The scariest is when you’re on public transport.”
- Female church leader in North East Lincolnshire: “I have been abused in the street just because of my faith.”
- Disabled Hull man: “I’ve been beaten up badly. My jaw was fractured in a particularly bad attack. I have multiple health conditions and they thought I was an easy target.”
- Hull man: “I have been punched and someone spat in my face in the street. It’s made me change my behaviour.”
- Disabled North Lincolnshire woman: “I put up with constant name calling and shouting in the street. I have been called cripple and spastic. I’ve even had stones thrown. It’s made me wary of going out.”
- Disabled Hull man: “I’ve been approached in the supermarket carpark by people calling me a scrounger, telling me to stop putting it on and questioning why I should get special parking. It made me feel an oddity.”
- Hull man: “I have been abused in the street because of my ethnicity.”
- Hull teenager: “I have been abused in the street. They called me an asylum seeker and a refugee.”
- Hull man: “I’ve been called a faggot, a homo and a pervert. It happens in the street, on nights out, out shopping, at work and while I was in education. I’m now less open about my sexuality and I am wary when I go out. It’s made me change my behaviour and the way I dress.”
- North East Lincolnshire woman: “I was told to get back to my own country. My car has been smashed up and the windows of my house have been broken.”
- East Yorkshire woman: “I have been abused in the street and in a quiet bar. They called me dyke, man, lesbian, homo. I now don’t feel as though I can go into a bar dressed the way I would like to.”
We will not tolerate it
Chief Superintendent Scott Young said: “The physical and verbal abuse suffered by victims of hate crime is deplorable and it will not be tolerated in Humberside. I would urge anyone who has experienced it to report it.
“I want to reassure victims that they will be taken seriously and they will be believed. This is not something you just have to put up with.
“I would also urge anyone who witnesses such abuse taking place not just to ignore it, but to get in touch.
“If we are to tackle those responsible effectively, we need to know as much as possible about what has happened and we can only do this with your help.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said: “All victims of crime deserve the best service possible.
“This becomes even more important when you are targeted because of who or what you are. I want our police to properly prioritise hate crimes and we need victims and the public to help us do this by reporting what has occurred to them and what they have seen. The police want to improve their response and show that they really do take this very seriously, so let’s all help them do it.”
Local authority backing
Councillor Richard Hannigan, cabinet member for Governance and Transformation at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Hate crime is the worst form of bullying. Abusing people because they are different from you and because you think they can't defend themselves is cowardly and obscene.
“Everyone has a right to be treated with respect and dignity. The council is working with the police to tackle hate crime and as part of the campaign, will be issuing guidance to local communities to assist them should they encounter any issues. We need to stand together and say no to hate crime.”
Councillor Hazel Chase, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, Public Protection and the Visitor Economy at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “I’m truly shocked by some of the vile insults and vicious abuse people have suffered just for being themselves.
“Hate crime has no place in a civil society and by working together we can put a stop to it.
“If you’re being victimised because of who you are, or if you know someone who is, please speak up and report it. Do not suffer in silence help is out there.”
Councillor Helena Spencer from Hull City Council whose portfolio includes Equalities and Diversity, said: “Any kind of abuse, verbal or physical, is deplorable and we fully support this much-needed campaign.
“By highlighting and publicising this conversation about hate crimes, I hope that we can help to give people who are being subjected to this kind of abuse the courage to report it and get the support they need. Hate crime is not acceptable and we need to see those who are targeting people in this way brought to justice.”
Councillor Shaun Horton, portfolio holder for community involvement and local partnerships at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "The council has been a long-term support of policies and practices aimed at promoting equality and support for a diverse and tolerant society, both within the workforce and through the services it delivers.
"Hate crime will not be tolerated and anyone who experiences hate crime, no matter how small, must report it,"
Report it and support us
To report a hate crime, call 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also visit the hate crime section on our website.
To show your support for the Being You Is Not A Crime - Targeting You Is campaign, why not download the poster below, attach a photograph of you and your group/ team and display it at your school/ business/ community centre.
For all the latest on the campaign, follow @humberbeat #BeingYouIsNotACrime on Twitter or visit the force Facebook page.
Please direct any interview requests to Sarah Howson, on 01482 578246 or firstname.lastname@example.org