Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

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Please support Hate Crime Awareness Week

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  September 26, 2016 |

National Hate Crime Awareness will soon be upon us on 8-15th October.  A natural priority for ourselves at GATE is to increase awareness of Gypsy and Traveller hate crime which we sadly know so many members and others in the community have suffered.  We are therefore delighted that the Traveller Movement has launched a national campaign #OperationReportHate to highlight crimes faced by Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, which we are gladly supporting locally. 

Our ‘ask’ is simple: we and our partners at the Traveller Movement have produced posters (which can be downloaded here) and are asking public figures to share a photo on social media of themselves holding it.  Please use the hashtag #OperationReportHate and tag the campaign using @GypsyTravellerM.  Whether police officer, Council Officer, teacher or indeed any other profession, we would appreciate your support and hope you can take the time to help us raise awareness.

 

This campaign mirrors to some extent the Traveller Movement’s previous Operation Traveller Vote, of bringing a Gypsy and Traveller perspective to an issue of universal importance.  Like Operation Traveller Vote a large feature of the campaign is internal.  That is, beyond raising awareness in wider society about hate crime towards Gypsies and Travellers the drive is for those within the community to recognise the importance and longer term value of reporting hate crime. 

 

To our members we would request your support in reporting crimes where possible; Leeds GATE are willing and able to support with this.  We are well aware of the frustrations and it is so easy to become fatalistic.  Too often in the past have complaints, whether about hate crime or related discrimination, not apparently been taken seriously or resolved satisfactorily.  Still worse when crimes have been committed by those in positions of authority.  The reluctant is understandable.

 

However, we are anxious to respond to the challenge constructively and help create an environment where reporting hate crime in our area becomes more straightforward and seen to be of value.  There are strong organisations involved in the campaign, such as True Vision and locally, Stop Hate UK, whose support will be key.  There are now apps and helplines available so as to make reporting hate crimes more straightforward and clearer, with support throughout the process.

 

We know that Gypsies and Travellers experience as much hate crime as any other group, whether bullying at school, police harassment, racist abuse in public places or discrimination at work.  Sadly, crimes are likely to continue despite positive proactive work such as cultural awareness training or wider anti-racism campaigns.  We desperately want institutions to recognise that some behaviour constitutes hate crime and to change practices.  Until then and in recognition that crimes will still occur, we will continue to support members to ensure unacceptable actions don’t go unchallenged. 

 

 

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