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Hate crime victims given new ways to report abuse

Victims of hate crime in the Dorset County Council area will have an even greater opportunity to report abuse, when Third Party Reporting Centres open later this month.

Centres have opened their doors in Dorset today, Tuesday 26 October 2010 and will be based in existing council and community buildings.

The reporting centres have been set up following the historic inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence – a victim of hate crime.

Hate crime is the targeting of individuals, groups or communities because of who they are. It is any crime, incident or harassment motivated by someone’s race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender or age.

Among the inquiry’s recommendations was a need to establish a way that would allow people to report a hate crime without the need to attend a police station.

Councillor Ray Nottage, Chair of Dorset Community Safety Partnership, said: “We want to give victims of hate crime as many opportunities as possible to report abuse.

“While some victims may feel comfortable reporting abuse to the police, it has been recognised that some victims would prefer to be in a more neutral environment.

“These reporting centres will provide that service, allowing victims to talk freely to a centre’s trained staff.

“Once a victim has disclosed abuse that member of staff will signpost them to the relevant agencies as agreed during the report.

While, today, Tuesday 26 October marks the start of the project, more centres will be opening after further training in November.

Councillor Nottage continued: “Our message for victims of hate crime is: do not suffer in silence.

“We, the council, police and other community safety agencies, take reports of hate crime extremely seriously and action will be taken to deal with any reports that are received.”

To find your nearest Third Party Reporting Centre visit - www.dorsetforyou.com/hatecrime

Victims of hate crime can still report abuse directly to Dorset Police by: visiting their local police station; telephone on 01202 222 222; or via an online form on the Dorset Police website.

Hate crime