Hate Crime Advocacy and Empowerment Project

The project is a Big Lottery funded programme to support and advocate on behalf of victims of hate crimes or incidents living in South Wales.

A Hate Crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on any of the 5 Hate Crime strands: disability; gender identity; race; religion / faith and sexual orientation.

The Project provides the following services:

  • Informing victims of their rights and choices

  • Support, advice and guidance for victims and their families

  • Empowerment for victims to make informed decisions

  • Working with partner organisations to secure the best outcome for victims

  • Working with communities to defeat hate crime

  • Encouraging victims to report hate crime to the Police

The Hate Crime Advocacy and Empowerment Project is a partnership project led by Race Equality First (REF) with SEWREC as a delivery partner. The team consists of six officers who cover the following areas: Gareth Hughes as the Project Co-ordinator; Fateha Ahmed and Sorraya Parsons as Advocacy Officers based at REF who cover Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan; Eddy Mushayanyama who covers Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff and is also now based at REF (since the closure of VALREC in April 2015); Shaheen Sutton who covers Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent and is based at SEWREC.

All members of the team encourage and assist with the reporting of hate crimes in the areas covered whilst providing all round support to victims of hate crime.

The Project is a result of the All Wales Hate Crime Research Project run by REF between 2010 to 2013. The research, which was completed by Cardiff University for REF, was the first of its kind to ever be conducted in the UK and it was used as an evidence base for the Welsh Government’s Framework for Action on Hate Crime which was produced in July 2013.

During the course of the research project we found that one in seven victims had experienced suicidal thoughts and nearly one in five had considered moving out of Wales altogether. The research also outlined that victims of hate crime often felt disempowered by the criminal justice process and did not have a good understanding of their rights and responsibilities. Due to the shocking findings REF recommended and successfully applied for an advocacy project for victims of hate crime.

The Project which launched in August 2014 runs regional forums which advise and support the work of the advocacy team. Anyone wishing to be a part of that forum should contact the Project Co-ordinator, Gareth Hughes.

The project will also be seeking "Hate Crime Champions" who will be people from local communities and representing those most likely to suffer hate crime.

The Champions will be our eyes and ears and will assist us to identify and support victims of hate crime, especially individuals who may be reluctant to seek help, advice and guidance.

For further details please contact Gareth Hughes, the Project Co-ordinator, at gareth.hughes@raceequalityfirst.org.uk Or call Gareth on 029 2048 6207.