MORE than 40 per cent of Bolton’s African community have been verbally abused, according to a new survey investigating hate crime.

A hate crime study has revealed shocking new statistics about the abuse and violence suffered by Bolton’s African community showing an “epidemic in the community”, says the African Community Association of Bolton (ACAB).

In the last year, 41 per cent of 108 people surveyed have been verbally abused, 26 per cent have been harassed and 20 per cent have had their property damaged.

But the study also revealed that the community members are almost just as likely to not report the crimes as to tell police and other services, with 42 per cent of 99 people surveyed saying they would not report if they were a victim.

The study was carried out by ACAB, aided by the Bolton Be Safe Partnership.

In a presentation on Friday, volunteers for the group explained the reasons behind crimes going unreported among Bolton’s African population.

Volunteer Kouam Wane Gael said that education around hate crime needs to improve to ensure people recognise when they are a victim of it: “I myself didn’t know anything about hate crime when I first came to Bolton.

"When I learned that suffering abuse could actually be seen as a hate crime, I talked to my mother and sister about it all day.”

He added that the process of reporting hate crime can be difficult: “Many people in the African community are not online and going down to the police station can be time consuming.”

The group is hoping to launch a campaign to inform people about the different places people can report hate crimes, such as Bolton CVS.

Other reasons include victims feeling they would get no meaningful response from the police when they may have little evidence to prove an incident happened.

ACAB treasurer Ken Waiganjo said: “People want to be confident that if they report that something will happen.”