Mark Burns-Williamson & Hate Crime

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Hate Crime Presentation

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is helping to tackle hate and mate crime in West Yorkshire.

Mate crime is where someone befriends a potentially vulnerable person with the intention of exploiting the person, this could include financial, physical or sexual abuse.

The PCC’s Safer Communities Fund granted £4960 to an organisation called Why Don’t We, for a project to help raise awareness of, and prevent, disability hate and mate crime.

Why Don’t We is a Bradford based charity, which supports adults with learning disabilities to address issues which affect their lives, raise awareness of forms of prejudice and abuse against those with learning disabilities, enable them to speak for themselves and enable their voices to be heard by the wider community.

The funded project involved working with adults with learning disabilities around mate crime at workshops throughout 2017. They also worked with Health and Social Care students at Bradford College to help develop the resources and this allowed the students to advance their learning through the participant’s life experiences.

The project used photography and sound recording to explore issues and create animated slide shows to help participants make sense of what can be a difficult concept. The resources created were based on real experiences from the Why Don’t We project.

Why Don’t We are also hoping to expand the project and provide training to key groups such as social workers, social care students and teachers.

Mark attended the launch event of the mate crime project at Bradford College yesterday (16/10) where the animated slide shows were presented to an audience of invited guests.

Mark said: “As difficult to understand as it is, unfortunately mate crime exists and raising awareness and preventing these issues is so important in safeguarding our communities.

“Why Don’t We do a really fantastic job of engaging with adults with learning disabilities in a fun and interactive way. The presentations they have made will be invaluable to the community, wider professionals and partners.

“This week is Hate Crime Awareness Week, which is a national campaign dedicated to raising awareness of hate crime, mate crime and hate incidents so this launch event could not have been better timed.”

Tony O'Connell, the Project Coordinator at Why Don’t We, said: “The people we support have done a brilliant job in helping to raise awareness of this difficult issue. Hearing true stories from the people affected has a powerful impact on those who hear them.

Working with Bradford College, has given us direct access to people who will be supporting vulnerable people in the future and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”