Hate harassment is not acceptable: Launch of Hate Crime Toolkit
by Krisztina NAGY for Northern Ireland Foundation
2 October 2015
As part of Community Relations Week, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) launched its Hate Crime Toolkit, in cooperation with PSNI. With the toolkit, the Housing Executive aims to provide a safe environment in housing estates, where everyone (residents, their families and visitors) can live in a quiet and peaceful environment.
As Gerry Flynn, Director of Landlord Services explained, there are many people in the society who suffer harassment towards them, according to sexual orientation, race, disability or religion. They are targeted by hatred, which the Housing Executive is taking action against. Mr Flynn also said that attitudes must be challenged, and people need to be encouraged to talk about it, to get crimes reported.
Mr Flynn emphasized that local communities must be supported, and the Housing Executive will do their best to assist, by providing practical steps, such as this Hate Crime Toolkit.
“Hate harassment is not acceptable, it really needs to be reported”. Citizens must understand that “we have to make a difference collectively”, Mr Flynn added.
Linda Hutchinson, NIHE Race Relations Officer, started her presentation with the Housing Executive’smission statement: “Working in partnership to ensure that everyone has access to a good affordable home in a safe and healthy community.”
Ms Hutchinson then defined hate harassment as “any incident perceived to have been committed on the grounds of a person’s ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, political opinion or disability”.
She then explained that the toolkit consists of preventing, reporting, recording crime and supporting victims.
Ms Hutchinson showed a PSNI map about hate harassment in Northern Ireland by postcode, and concluded that hate crime is everywhere around the province. She added that 668 people were presented as homeless due to intimidation, in the period of 2013-14.
Therefore, Ms Hutchinson explained prevention consists of several processes:
- supporting existing communities
- supporting new tenants
- integration projects
- improving understanding
- awareness raising and myth-busting
The primary goal is to get the message across that hate harassment is not acceptable.
As a closing remark, Mr Flynn said, “Northern Ireland is a good place to live, and we should welcome everyone.”