Advice centres offer drop-in service for hate crime reports

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AN outreach organisation is helping people who have been victims or witnesses to a hate crime.

Citizens Advice County Durham is urging people to go into their nearest bureau to make reports.

The organisation’s deputy chief executive, Dawn Kirsopp, said: “We all have the right to live free from violence, harassment or hostility, but over the years, we have seen how devastating hate incidents can be to individuals, families and the wider community.

“Hate incidents target people because of who they are. We want people to feel able to come in and tell us about any hate incident they experience or witness, no matter how minor they might seem.

“Hate incidents are a form of discrimination and can be a consequence or underlying cause of other problems for which people need advice.”

Attacks can involve targeted hostility, violence or prejudice because disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief or sexual orientation.

They can be verbal or physical assaults, graffiti, harassment by phone or social media, and damage to a home, property, community centre or place of worship.

Research by the Equality and Durham Rights Commission shows disabled people are four times more likely to experience a hate crime than non-disabled people.

More details about Citizens Advice County Durham can be found via website and its advice line can be called on 08444 111 444, from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.