STUDENTS have been getting clued up on how to spot hate crimes.
The University of Bolton’s Students' Union hosted the awareness event, which included stalls manned by police, Victim Support, Bolton’s Mental Health Independent Support Team and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
Janet Galligan, welfare and advice unit coordinator at the student union, said: “A lot of the students at the university are in the age group where it’s more likely they will be victims of hate crimes. The event gives them the opportunity to find out where they can go to get help.
“Hate crime comes in many forms and people don’t always realise what they are experiencing is a hate crime because they don’t know how or where to get help from.”
PC Rick Charlesworth, for Bolton Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the event aimed to educate people about hate crime and the raise awareness support available for victims.
He added: “There are people who have been victims of hate crime and they think “this is it” and put up with it — but they shouldn’t. If it’s upsetting somebody so much these people shouldn’t be able to get away with it.
“Hate crime is taken very seriously by police. At the end of the day it impacts people’s lives and gives people a poor quality of life. It’s a basic human need to feel happy and safe.”
Victims of hate crime are being encouraged to report abuse either to police or to one of the community bases across Bolton where workers are trained to deal with victims. Cllr Derek Burrows, cabinet member for community safety, who attended the event, said: “Hate crime is completely unacceptable and we are working with our partners to end it completely.
“We hope that the events and activities we are organising as part of this week will raise awareness of hate crime and encourage people to take a stand against it.”
Hate crimes can be reported to police on 101, via True Vision at report-it.org.uk or third party at a reporting centre, see bolton.gov.uk/website/Pages/Hatecrime.aspx for information.