Lambeth Council has launched a network of reporting centres dedicated to victims of hate crime such as racism and Islamaphobia.
The council and police want more victims to come forward and report hate crime particularly people from ethnic minority and faith groups. Hate crime reporting centres have been set up at five locations across Lambeth including North Brixton Mosque and the Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Communities Forum. Victims are able to talk to volunteers rather than police within their own communities and language.
The six-month pilot project has been put in place following the council’s hate crime reporting consultation with Lambeth residents. An overwhelming majority identified hate crime reporting centres as something they would like to see as widespread across Lambeth. If successful the pilot will be extended to other communities and organisations from March 2012.
Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Rachel Heywood, said: “Victims of hate crime do not need to suffer in silence. I want to raise the profile of hate crime generally so that all sections of Lambeth’s communities know this is unacceptable. We are working with the police to send out a clear message that hate crime is taken seriously in Lambeth and will not be tolerated in any shape or form.”
She added: “We believe hate crime is under reported across London as a whole because people are unsure of the reporting methods and we are believe this network of reporting centres will go some way to tackle the problem in Lambeth.”
The Safer Lambeth Partnership, which is made up of the council, police, and partner agencies, has identified Brixton Town Centre, Streatham High Road, and Clapham High Street as the main areas where hate crime has traditionally been problematic. There were a total of 350 reported incidents of hate crime in Lambeth from April 1, to November 30, 2010.
These included racism (215), homophobia (104), faith related (16), Islamaphobia (13), and Transgender (2). This is compared to 383 reported incidents of hate crime from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010, and 368 from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009.
The partnership believes hate crime remains under reported in Lambeth despite police figures which indicate a rise nationally. The aim of the project is to increase victims’ options to report hate crime which should lead to more incidents reported by target audiences. If you have been the victim of hate crime and wish to report it you can do so by contacting the following organisations: North Brixton Islamic Mosque, from Friday 2pm to 4pm, and Saturday 5pm to 7pm on: 07939 325 032.
Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Communities Forum, Monday to Sunday 24 hours a day on: 07504893151, alternatively email Portuguese.firstname.lastname@example.org
Carenet, Tuesday and Thursdays, 9am to 5pm on: 020 7274 8856.
Stockwell Women Achievement Network (SWAN), Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10am to 2pm on: 020 7096 3923.
FAST London UK, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm on:020 8671 2747 or 07939126653
Alternatively, Lambeth Council’s Hate Crime Coordinator, Yvonne Okiyo, can be contacted on 020 7926 2796. In an emergency dial 999.