National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from 9-16 October 2021 and this year’s theme is spread love, not hate.
The week was founded in 2009 to mark the 10th anniversary of the London attacks on Black and LGBT communities in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho. In 1999 these communities were targeted by three nail bomb attacks that tragically killed three people and left more than 100 people injured. The attacks were motivated by racism and homophobia.
Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility towards individuals and communities because of who they are, or who people perceive them to be. Hate crimes are currently recorded where a crime is directed at someone because of their race, sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, religion or belief. Despite years of action by anti-hate groups and allies, there has been an increase in hate crime in recent years. Some of this is down to improved reporting, but spikes in hate crime have also been triggered following certain events such as the EU referendum and 2017 terrorist attacks. Recent statistics confirm that the Coronavirus pandemic has triggered a rise in race hate and LGBT+ hate crimes.
Hate crime directed at people with Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese heritage has increased by 21% during the Coronavirus crisis with individuals being spat on, verbally abused and physically assaulted. Police estimates suggest a threefold increase in such incidents in the first three months of 2020 compared with the same period last year.
In London according to figures by the Metropolitan Police Force hate crime directed at South and East Asian communities has risen by almost 180% during the Coronavirus pandemic.
LGBT+ people and communities have also come under attack.
Crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity have increased almost every year since at least 2015, according to Government data from England, Wales and Scotland.
Whilst legal equality for LGBT workers may have been in large part achieved, attitudes have been very slow to follow suit and for many LGBT workers in Usdaw their experiences in society and in the world of work continue to be marred by hostility, stigma and anti-LGBT hatred.
We know that many of our members have experienced hate crime either at work or in their communities. The results of Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey last year show 79% of shopworkers said that abuse at work was worse last year. Many of these incidents have hate as an aggravating factor and we know that our LGBT and Black members are at particular risk.
There are still very low levels of awareness of what a hate crime is across the UK. Usdaw is working to change this. Find out more about what a hate crime is, how to report it and the harm it does to members and their families by downloading or ordering Usdaw’s ‘Together Against Hate’ campaign posters and leaflets here.
Visit nationalhcaw.uk for information relating to the 2021 National Hate Crime Awareness Week and ways that you can get involved.
Together we can end hate crime.